Written by Michael Clawson
Overweight and underemployed, New York millennial Brittany Forgler decides to get in shape after some cautionary advice from her doctor prompts her to take a hard look in the mirror. The movie charts her journey from finding the will to merely jog down her block, a daunting task at the time, to running in the NYC marathon. I get that weight loss can be a life-changing, transformative experience, and can benefit other areas of your life in unexpected ways. But as this movie repeatedly points out, physicality is always less important than interiority, and yet the movie does a piss poor job of delving into the inner lives and more interesting sides of its characters with any degree of subtlety.
A prime example is Brittany’s falling out with her cute and skinny but selfish roommate. Sure, people say mean things when they’re upset – the roommate is in the midst of a breakup – but the torrent of insults she throws at Brittany the night of their split is so ruthless it feels contrived since we know so little about their relationship otherwise. Similarly, Brittany striking up a friendship with the fit, middle-aged neighbor whom she assumed was obnoxiously perfect is eye-rollingly obvious in its purpose. Turns out the neighbor’s life isn’t so idyllic after all: she’s a former drug addict and is now going through a divorce. The movie pays only measly lip service to those hardships, grazing over them and moving on once its point is clear: pretty people have problems too!
And then there’s Brittany’s love life, which is as shallowly written as any other subplot, and the training sequences, which strain hard to be inspirational. It’s worth noting though that Jillian Bell is not really a part of the problem. It’s that the material of the story she’s in is well-intentioned but desperately thin.
Brittany Runs a Marathon Trailer