This indie film cant quite square its transformative weight-loss narrative with its empowering intentions
So youre diagnosing me as fat? quips Brittany (Jillian Bell) to her doctor. The 28-year-old is 5ft 6in, 13st 8lb and medically overweight. I feel like you completely missed the point of those Dove ads, she drolly tells him. In writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzos indie comedy, based on one of his friends, Brittany is spurred by this humiliating encounter into getting fit and training for a marathon. She laces up her trainers; the proudly plus-size popstar Lizzos empowerment anthem Good as Hell plays over the ensuing weight-loss montage. Its a red flag.
The film struggles to square its protagonists weight loss with the pressure to present a body-positive position and ensure it doesnt alienate the very female audience it courts. One minute its wryly poking fun at the expense and inaccessibility of gyms, the next its fetishistically cataloguing the shrinking number on Brittanys scales. Indeed, as her body transforms, so does her life. She finds a new job, and supportive friends in her running club; men begin to notice her. Yet Brittany still battles with her body issues, unable to shed her identity as a fat girl. Theres a note of truth in Bells finely tuned performance as a character whose insecurities have calcified over the years, hardening her to genuine goodwill, which she frequently misreads as pity.
However, a feelgood fairytale ending wraps up Brittanys story a little too neatly, with Colaizzo insistent on giving the audience a runners high.