Winning an Audience Award at Sundance is never a bad day at the office, but it’s particularly nice when it’s your first film. That’s just the kind of year playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo is having, as his feature directorial debut “Brittany Runs a Marathon” is now following its Park City success with a release this August.
Jillian Bell stars as the eponymous Brittany, a hilarious, hard-partying New Yorker who reluctantly takes control of her life after receiving some bad news. According to Amazon’s official synopsis: “when she stops by a Yelp-recommended doctor’s office in an attempt to score some Adderall, she finds herself slapped with a prescription she never wanted. Forced to face reality for the first time in a long time, Brittany laces up her Converse and runs one sweaty block. The next day, she runs two. Soon she runs a mile. Brittany finally has direction — but is she on the right path?”
It’s a star turn from the former “SNL” writer, who has been praised for adding a dramatic streak to her brand of comedy. In a B+ Sundance review, IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote that “Brittany is utterly charming, and she’s also totally human, a funny and flinty and real protagonist who can inspire tears and laughs from scene to scene, even minute to minute.”
The film also stars Utkarsh Ambudkar, Michaela Watkins, Lil Rel Howery, Micah Stock, and Alice Lee. It launches the film career of Downs Colaizzo, previously known for his plays “Really Really” and “Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill,” as well as his work on CBS’ “MacGyver” reboot. The film’s splashy — and lauded — festival debut marks his arrival as a voice to watch in the indie film world.
At the festival, the film was acquired for $14 million as part of Amazon’s massive Sundance buying spree, and bookends a summer slate that kicks off this weekend with Mindy Kaling’s “Late Night.” If audiences respond as positively as they did in Park City, this could be a sleeper hit in the dog days of summer.
Amazon Studios will release “Brittany Runs a Marathon” in theaters on August 23. Watch the official trailer below.