If there is only one reason to go see BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON is that it easily contains Jillian Bell’s best performance to date. I’ve always liked her, from the few times I’ve actually caught an episode of Workaholics to all the other crude, crass, drug, dick & fart joke comedies, where she effortlessly can elevate any lazy material into sounding funny and fresh. Here, she combines that quick wit and mixes in a little bit of a dramatic performance to bring the audience something we’ve never seen before from her: becoming an actual multi-dimensional character. She’s really brilliant in this and hope she maybe can stay away from those lame brain comedies and do something more to this nature from now on (although paychecks say otherwise). She is really that charismatic and charming. Another reason is that this movie, instead of resorting to the dated and aged fat shaming to get a bigger person to start to lose weight (see: Just Friends), uses superior and smarter ways to promote not only healthy reasons and goals to want to stay in shape, but also manages to achieve degrees of good mental health. Hell, this movie happily made me want to take my fat ass on a walk when I returned home.
The movie is inspired by a true story (although Jillian Bell and the real Brittany look almost nothing alike) and it is about a woman, who after a doctor’s visit realizes she isn’t healthy and needs to lose some weight. So she decides to train for New York City’s Annual Marathon and along the way she discovers friends, love, and positive mental health. Yes, the movie is by the books predictable and (almost) ends on the exact note you’d predict it would, but the laughs are there and quite frequent, the positive energy and messages are constant, and Jillian Bell’s performance is worth the price of admission alone. I love the friendships she ends up having with a homosexual, out-of -shape father that just wants to have his son proud of him, and the downstairs older woman neighbor who Brittany finds annoying at first. And the weird, possible more than friendship-ship she finds when house sitting a rich couples dog.
The only thing that maybe felt a little too cliched for me was the deteriorating friendship she has with her former roommate. The bickering during those scenes felt a little too old and tired and you could tell by Jillian Bell’s face that should couldn’t do much with the stale dialogue and messages in those parts. But those parts are quickly redeemed by other scenes, such as when she sees a bigger woman being in a relationship with a skinnier handsome looking gentleman. I also saw that Jillian Bell worked very hard physically on the film, as you can see a wonderful and gradual healthy transformation scene by scene right in front of your eyes. I’ve always found Jillian Bell attractive, but in this film, combined with her fantastic personality, she is absolutely and stunningly gorgeous.
I want this to be one of my shorter reviews so this will be a concluding paragraph. Sorry to be blunt, but I’ve been writing too much lately. The direction, shots, and cinematography don’t really do much in terms of style, but this film is all substance, so bland style is automatically forgivable. This films has a huge heart and a large positive energy vibe, promoting mental and physical health in a way that transitions itself comfortably to the politically correct era that we are living in currently. I think entertainment has come a long way from Fat Monica on Friends and Fat Ryan Reynolds on Just Friends. This film is also a good motivator for those that are looking to pick themselves up and make themselves healthier both physically and mentally. Heck, it has me wanting to try and do better myself…this movie might’ve been the push I needed!