‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’ Review: Jillian Bell Speeds Into Leading Lady Status in Winning Comedy

IndieWire | 1/29/2019 | Staff
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It’s easy enough to picture the dramatic version of Paul Downs Colaizzo’s directorial debut, “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” which would most definitely open with a Lao Tzo quote about the journey of a thousand miles (you know the one, it’s all about starting with just one step) and it would absolutely end with a flood of tears. The greatest trick of Colaizzo’s winning comedy: it doesn’t need that cheese factor to inspire plenty of tears and cheers, because it’s got something better than overused quotes or overhyped drama. It’s got Jillian Bell.

Loosely based on the experience of one of Colaizzo’s friends, “Brittany Runs a Marathon” finally gives perpetual breakout talent Bell the chance to not only show off her prodigious comedic chops (the former “SNL” writer has never had a problem doing that, thanks to standout supporting turns in films like “Rough Night” and “22 Jump Street”), but also a refreshing dramatic streak that adds actual pathos to a special character in a special film. A lovable goofball, Brittany is a literal crowdpleaser who only seems at ease when she’s making other people laugh.

Trip - Doctor - Yelp - Pursuit - Adderall

After a trip to a “cheap, nice” doctor she found on Yelp in pursuit of an Adderall prescription, Brittany must unexpectedly come to terms with some hard truths about how she’s been living. She doesn’t need drugs, she needs to eat a salad. By the time she’s sobbing alone in her apartment (something that Bell still manages to make amusing), it’s obvious that Brittany’s unhealthy choices aren’t just about her lack of exercise and love of burgers. It’s her nosy neighbor Katherine (Michaela Watkins) that helps push Brittany off her butt, preaching the gospel of “little goals” when it comes time to change your life. When Brittany gets up the courage to actually go for a run,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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