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Posts Tagged ‘Jillian Bell’

Jillian Bell

“BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON” My rating: B 

113 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The title character of “Brittany Runs a Marathon” does indeed participate in the famous 26.2-mile run through New York’s five boroughs…but Paul Downs Colaizzo’s film isn’t really about running.

Rather this comedy/drama, alternately hilarious and emotionally abrasive, is about the slow journey to self acceptance.

That may sound like a slog, but — like training for a marathon — it pays off in unexpected ways.

Brittany (Jillian Bell) is a 28-year-old Queens resident with a lifestyle that is slowly killing her.  She subsists on junk food, she gets drunk regularly, she dispenses b.j.s in a nightclub men’s room.

According to her physician, Brittany’s  body mass index qualifies her as obese (she indignantly accuses him of fat shaming); meanwhile her blood pressure is soaring and her liver isn’t looking so good.

Brittany is a lonely mess, although she works to hide that with buckets of self-deprecating and/or aggressive humor.  lf she can’t be loved (she’s never been in an actual relationship) she might as well be amusing.

Sometimes, though, all she can do is bawl.  One of her wailing sob sessions draws the attention of her upstairs neighbor, Catherine (Michaela Watkins), a middle-aged photographer Brittany usually ridicules as a bourgeoise poseur.  But Catherine ignores the abuse and in a display of compassion invites Brittany to join her  weekend running group.

Our girl’s first attempt at jogging is hilariously terrible — at least she can share her shame and frustration with another newbie, Seth (Micah Stock), a funny gay guy running to fulfill a promise to his husband and their young son.

But with the support of Catherine and Seth — and encouraged by the loss of a few pounds — Brittany devotes herself to loping through the mean streets of NYC. The trio make a pact: they’ll run in next year’s New York Marathon. (more…)

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Marc Maron, Jon Bass

“SWORD OF TRUST” My rating: B

89 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Lynn Shelton’s “Sword of Trust” is marvelously funny descent into the wacko fringes of modern America, enacted by a superb cast of players who work the material for every droll moment.

Reportedly built on extensive improvisations (the Christopher Guest model) the film opens in a Birmingham pawn shop overseen by Mel (Marc Maron), a morose, cynical guy whose greatest pleasure is buying exotic merchandise on the cheap.

His constant companion is Nathaniel (John Bass), a slack-jawed assistant who wastes most of the business day chortling over Internet videos.

One day they are visited by a lesbian couple, Mary and Cynthia (Michaela Watkins, Jillian Bell) who are interested in selling a Civil War-era sword found in the home of Cynthia’s late grandfather.

The old man left behind an envelope crammed with “documentation” allegedly proving that the sword was surrendered by Gen. Phil Sheridan to one of Cynthia’s rebel forebears.

According to the old man’s scribblings, the sword is proof that the Union lost the War of Northern Aggression.

(more…)

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