BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON – Review by Susan Granger

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Written and directed by her best friend/former roommate Paul Downs Colaizzo, this is the true-life saga of Brittany O’Neill who went from self-proclaimed mess to enthusiastic marathoner.

Living on the Upper West Side, tart, self-deprecating, 27 year-old Brittany (Jillian Bell) stands 5’6” tall, weighs 227 pounds, smokes a pack-and-a-half of Marlboro Lights every day, carries six figures worth of student loan debt and is inclined to engage in toxic relationships.

Despite that, she’s always up for a good time. While visiting a new doctor in an attempt to get an Adderall prescription, Brittany is told she needs to lose 45 pounds. “That’s the weight of a Siberian husky!” she replies.

But when her neighbor Catherine (Michaela Watkins) invites her to join a runners’ group, she befriends equally-out-of-shape Seth (Micah Stock), starting with the goal of running a mile. But soon one mile becomes more as Brittany becomes more self-confident.

Eventually, she’s determined to run the grueling 26.2 miles of the New York Marathon – from the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to Central Park. Accompanying her physical transformation is an emotional one, as Brittany views healthier relationships, including new room-mate Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar).

Her commitment and achievement are admirable but, unfortunately, somewhere along the way, Brittany seems to lose her sense of humor. And far too much time is spent during the Marathon, which Colizzo filmed in 2017, working with the New York Road Runners, hosts of the annual event.

But this is a perfect showcase for “SNL’s” Jillian Bell, scene-stealer in “Rough Night,” “Workaholics” & “22 Jump Street” – who lost 40 pounds during filming.

“When I read the script, I laughed and cried,” Bell recalls. “I’m terrified but I don’t want anyone else to play it, because I love her and I know her and I’ve been her.”

Now feeling good about herself, the real Brittany still runs regularly and works for a refugee-resettlement agency.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Brittany Runs a Marathon” is a steadfast 7 – about turning your life around.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.