‘Brittany Runs A Marathon’ is An Unfunny, Fat-Shaming Disaster
Well. Brittany Runs a Marathon is a movie that someone made. I was expecting to be annoyed by this film because they made Jillian Bell wear a prosthetic double chin. Whenever anyone wears a fat suit in a movie, I get a real rude ‘tude about it, because no one’s adding a double chin to an actor for a flattering portrayal. Even with the additions, I need to point out that this character is barely fat.
Brittany is a mess, according to this movie. She goes out! She’s late for work! Meanwhile, she tries to con a doctor into giving her a prescription for Adderall! And she gives a blowjob to a man who offered her napkins as knee pads like that’s a legitimate prelude to fellatio. I think we’re supposed to find her charming, but what the script fails to realize is that Brittany is actually kind of an asshole.
BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON ★ (1/5 stars)
Directed by: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Written by: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Starring: Jillian Bell, Jennifer Dundas, Patch Darragh
Running time: 103 min
She’s meant to be hilarious, other characters tell us with their reactions and laughing. But her humor consists of slipping into British accents on a regular basis and occasional bursts of songs. She gets wasted and offers to buy drinks for an entire bar. What a riot! Someone get this girl to an open mic.
When your lead is a gifted comic actress like Jillian Bell, playing a character who is meant to be funny, the theater should not be dead silent whenever a “joke” is told. At one point, “jokes” take the form of Brittany taking back-to-back pretend phone calls using a flyer as a phone, all while her boss is trying to talk to her about how inconsiderate it is to be late for work and force others to pick up her slack. Because you know, fat people are lazy.
Everyone Else In The Movie Is Also Terrible
I needed to pause while writing this review because I got so irritable. Now that I’m back, I can tell you that Brittany also has shitty friends. Her best friend Gretchen is an Instagram influencer-wannabe with zero redeeming qualities except an enviable ability to jump on counters. This is her only friend aside from her sister and brother-in-law. Li’l Rel Howery is again the best part of a movie, having stolen the show in Get Out. Here, the director mostly uses him over Skype, which makes me wonder if even he didn’t want to make time for this movie, despite being in it.
Brittany starts to get it together, which at first seems to be the point of the movie. She gets a new job as a dog-walker / housesitter, and eventually moves in full-time into the stunning town home of the wealthy owners. She cozies up to and starts sleeping with Jern, the nighttime house sitter. Of course, this is after she loses about 30 lbs. and is thrilled when he describes her body as “average” while helping her sign up for OKCupid.
She makes friends with two other runners, Seth and Catherine, who try to treat her like normal people treat their friends. She starts to realize what actual friendship is like. But the characters are shallow, and exist mainly so Brittany can push them away.
Belittling The Actual Fat Woman
The worst thing about the movie, other than most scenes, is the pandering character of Jasmine. Jasmine is the only character who is an actual fat woman. She gets approximately three minutes of screen time.
Brittany visits home when she injures herself, and has to drop out of the marathon. She’s heartbroken.
This leads her to binge drink red wine and viciously insult Jasmine. Jasmine has a cute husband, and Brittany wonders how they met. Did they meet a long time ago when Jasmine was thin? How do people react to them? Brittany is on a roll and she doesn’t stop until she belittles Jasmine’s fat rolls. It’s vile.
Then, to show personal growth, she sends Jasmine the cheapest flowers she could find on 1-800-Flowers, and a card that reads “Jasmine–I’m sorry for how I acted. The truth is, I want what you have.” No shit, Brittany. We all know that.
In Jasmine’s other moment of screen time, she emails Brittany and we see her speaking the words. She knows Brittany’s pain. It’s aggressively cringey. I want to see Jasmine and her husband at home, rather than any scene in this film.
Brittany, like every good rom com lead, wants to work in advertising. She brings back the jingle, which, like most of her “humor,” no one asked for.
I was glad that the film addressed some issues that are real for fat people. When you lose weight, people start treating you better and it pisses you off. People hold doors for you. People notice you, when before they looked past you. I’m glad the doctor briefly mentioned that plenty of obese people are healthy. But it’s still a makeover movie, and the central part of that is losing weight.
In conclusion, this movie showed me that Brittany’s got to run a few more marathons to achieve the personal growth necessary to make this movie good. The one star is for Jasmine.