1. When was the last time you were told to “RUN, DON’T WALK” to a certain movie? Too long. We should bring it back for Brittany Runs a Marathon, but with a third option: DON’T RUN, DON’T WALK, JOG TO BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON.”
2. Directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, who also wrote the script, Brittany Runs a Marathon is a mostly winning comedy about a 28-year-old “hot mess,” played by Jillian Bell, who improves her life through running. And also eating better, and drinking less, and not being a jerk to the people who care about her, but, as the title suggests, mostly running. It’s an R-rated comedy-drama where the jokes don’t always land, and the drama is occasionally strained, but it gets by on the goodwill of the cast, the journey we follow with Brittany, and the screenplay’s earnestness, which never tips into righteousness.
3. Brittany is training for the New York City Marathon, the largest 26.2 mile race in the world with over 52,000 finishers in 2018. You will immediately want to sign up for the marathon after the movie. Or maybe a half-marathon. Okay, maybe a 5K. Or, if you’re in New York City, stand outside on race morning … or, better yet, watch the thing on television while drinking hot chocolate under the sheets. Leave the self-improvement for Brittany.
4. Running a marathon is difficult, and so is making a movie, and you stumble during both. Brittany avoids any major injuries (I instantly regret this analogy), but there are challenges along the way, which we’ll get to. But first, the positive stuff, like Bell’s performance. Even when Brittany is at her most annoying (three words for you: comedic British accent) or prickly, which is often, like when she rejects a charity offer from her friends/training buddies, you still root for the character, because you instinctively root for Bell. It’s a much-deserved, long-awaited starring role for the Workaholics scene-stealer, who should headline at least one studio comedy a year.
5. She’s so good in 22 Jump Street, too.
6. The rest of the cast — including Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), Utkarsh Ambudkar (The Mindy Project), and Michaela Watkins (every comedy ever) — do fine work, too.
7. There is a very good scene involving Patti Mayonnaise, from the Nickelodeon series Doug, and another where the Saved By the Bell theme song leads to hot and heavy petting between two characters. More movies should reference Doug.