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Brittany Runs a Marathon


Stars: Jillian Bell, Jennifer Dundas, Patch Darragh, Alice Lee, Michaela Watkins

Director: Paul Downs Colaizzo

The often witty, off-kilter dialogue and individualistic performance of writer-comedienne Bell contribute greatly to making this movie the success it is.

Brittany (Bell) is an overweight, unloved, poorly-paid loner in New York City, whose constant flip talk and wisecracks hide her insecurity and loneliness - an American cousin, in fact, to Lynn Redgrave's Georgy Girl all those years ago.

Foiled in her attempt to obtain uppers on prescription, she is told instead by the doctor (Darragh) to lose weight - 'That's as much as a full-grown husky dog!' she exclaims - and change her lifestyle, which involves mainly drinking, casual sex and junk food.

But she's inveigled by a stressed-out neighbour (Dundas) who has her own chequered past - 'Have you ever woken up,' she asks Brittany, 'and found the pillow you were sleeping on was a rat?' - to try a workout.

Reluctantly, Brittany applies to join the local gyn. 'For 129 dollars.' she's told, 'you get access to everything in the gym except half.' Much of the dialogue here's like that - turning a sentence on its head at the end. Only Brittany's dinner-party rant at a fat lady - as she once was - doesn't ring true.

It's a true story, or an approximation thereof, which would frankly work just as well if it weren't. You'll feel an anti-climax when Brittany suffers a stress fracture that rules her out of the marathon, but will her to finish the race when she enters the same event a year later.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Republic (Amazon Studios). Colour (unspecified).
104 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 30 Oct 2019