Mockumentaries are a rich part of cinema history. Director Christopher Guest has provided classics while “these go to eleven” is one of the funniest moments in film. Marathon tries to become part of this impressive list. Following oddball characters in a niche activity is a staple of the genre. This one follows five (kinda) runners who are participating in the Devil’s Canyon Marathon.
Early on, Marathon sticks to a familiar formula. The eccentric athletes are introduced. This includes a runner (Natalie Sullivan) who wants to break the world record for finishing a marathon while dressed as a fruit and a Black man (Tavius Cortez) who continually has his training interrupted by the police. The audience also gets an idea of what the movie will be offering.
These moments are the most important for any mockumentary. It is important to have engaging personalities since jokes and cast will be carrying the entire film. Marathon presents a strong cast with different motivations and quirks. None of the two are alike and while repetition is a problem for some jokes, the script does a fine job for the most part. This keeps things fun and interesting.
Marathon also keeps things brisk and to the point. The film is less than an hour and a half which keeps things from getting stale. As fun as the subjects are, they do have a limited shelf life. The premise also only has so much room before it becomes tiresome. The script does a good job of not wearing out its welcome while also providing a fun story.
An understated element of mockumentaries are the emotion they must bring. Without adding any feeling, they basically become a series of sketches tied together by a theme. This is not an issue in Marathon. While some of the characters have more depth than others, there is just the right amount of subtext included to make things come off as more than just a routine.
Marathon is available on digital and on demand July 6
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