McCoy on Movies: Brittany Runs a Marathon

McCoy on Movies: Brittany Runs a Marathon

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Learn about the new flick that our movie critic says uses heart, not clichés, to share an inspiring, entertaining and relatable journey.


“I gotta keep running … It’s the only way to avoid hearing that blasted ‘Old Town Road’ song anymore!” Brittany (Jillian Bell) takes to the streets in a scene from BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON. Credit: © 2019 Amazon Studios. All rights reserved.



KEY CAST MEMBERS: Jillian Bell, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Micah Stock, Micaela Watkins, Lil Rel Howery, Kate Harrington, Patch Darragh and Alice Lee

DIRECTOR(S): Paul Downs Colaizzo

THE BACK STORY: Brittany (Jillian Bell) is a hard-partying late 20-something who is living it up in New York City with her roommate/bestie Gretchen (Alice Lee). With her sister (Kate Harrington) and the brother-in-law who basically helped raise her Demetrius (Lil Rel Howery) back in Philadelphia, Brittany isn’t too concerned that she’s late to work all the time, she drinks too much and her place is a mess, but she’s too busy living her best life to care. 

Then she goes to see a doctor (Patch Darragh) to try to score a prescription for Adderall only to receive some bad news: One, she’s not getting it and two, she needs to lose 44-55 pounds for health’s sake.

Inadvertently befriended by her upstairs neighbor Catherine (Micaela Watkins) and the wanting-to-do-better-for-his-child-Seth (Micah Stock), Jillian decides to try to join their running group to get into better shape. But as she is soon to find out, running outside isn’t going to be the only challenge in her life since she’s been running away from all the other problems that have manifested themselves into who she is today.

THE REVIEW: Inspired by true eventsBrittany Runs a Marathon is a very good movie. It’s doesn’t provide a revelation in terms of its story, how it arrives to its final destination or contain some element of its cinematic presentation that is so overwhelmingly unique that it propels it to something resembling classic status. What it does do, however – thanks to a very fine leading performance by Bell that many will understand and find more relatable than many of us will care to admit if the numbers are true – is present a story that makes you root for the main character will in turn examining your own shortcomings (and potentially inspire you to do better, too).

Leaving out the more over-the-top elements one might find in a Amy Schumer or Rebel Wilson picture, Bell – best known for her comedic turns in films such as 22 Jump Street and Rough Night – makes Brittany a person (let alone woman) you know. In a culture where many publicly either body shame the overweight or crucify those that do, Bell’s performance digs just a little bit deeper into tackling issues like how our bodies make us feel about ourselves as a whole, the complications that come with perception of the types of lives overweight people have resigned their selves to and dealing with setbacks not just with exercise, but life as a whole.

This emotional depth exhibited by Bell, Watkins, Stock and Utkarsh Ambudkar as Brittany’s annoying co-worker is what keeps the film from feeling and being formulaic. Not everything is wrapped up nearly with a bow, the characters aren’t so cookie cutter you could simply replace them with others from another movie and there’s no over-the-top, that doesn’t make sense EXCEPT to make “x” happen moment. Instead, you get a woman trying to change her life while fighting demons that many of us face, working through them as best she can and coming to a place where she can be happier than she is not.

Seeing Brittany Runs a Marathon may just do the same for you … Or at least New Balance hopes so given all the product placement in the movie.







Tabari McCoy
Columnist - Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. An award-winning stand-up comedian who also works as the public relations director at Cincinnati Museum Center, Tabari McCoy is the creator of McCoy on Movies, a blog about movies for film fans. The blog is written by someone who also likes movies that is smart enough to know his opinion isn't always the right one but is willing to express that opinion in public. McCoy also used to review movies for his college paper and a major metropolitan publication, so that helps add to his "street cred." Contact him at You can also check out more of his work on his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy.