Linda Cook review: ‘Marathon’ will make you laugh all the way to the finish

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When I start this review with a mention of comic geniuses Keith Strausbaugh and Anthony Guidubaldi, I bet you’d either be scratching your head, intrigued, or maybe a little of both.

“Marathon” was written by two very funny guys whose names – at least for the moment – are not household words. But they should be, and maybe they will be, when this enjoyable movie makes the streaming rounds.

Just reading their bio on www.imdb.com is worthwhile, because you’re sure to get a few laughs out of it:

“Keith Strausbaugh and Anthony Guidubaldi write, direct, and edit under the banner of Hot Tub Mimosas, a loveless marriage of comedy filmmaking.

“They both hold MFAs in Screenwriting from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Keith also holds an MA in English from Old Dominion University. In fact, he’s holding it right now to taunt the lesser-educated Anthony.”

Mostly, the duo has penned short films. “Marathon” is a short feature-length mockumentary – a comedy made to look like it’s a documentary – about five amateur runners who want to compete in the Devil’s Canyon Marathon, organized by shoe-store owner Ed Clap (the hilarious Jimmy Slonina.)

The contenders Ryan (Andrew Hansen), who considers himself an elite runner, Abby (Anais Thomassian), a beleaguered mom of a baby who won’t say “Mama,” and Jenna (Natalie Sullivan) who wants to break the world record for completing a race dressed as a fruit (her costume is a banana.)

The movie opens, as do many serious documentaries, with an introduction to each character and a glimpse at the contenders’ lifestyles.

Then we see the characters endure injuries, disappointments, and sometimes even fall in love. Strausbaugh and Guidubaldi understand the difference between silly and funny. The characters’ personalities and plights keep us interested and encourage the audience to root for them.

This is a film that could be, and should be, a breakthrough movie for the filmmakers and capable ensemble. I hope to see more from all of them.

At this writing, the film has earned quite a distinction: It’s sitting at 100 percent approval on www.rottentomatoes.com, a website that represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive.

If you enjoyed the likes of “This is Spinal Tap!” you’ll find “Marathon” a winner.

3 1/2 stars

Rated: Unrated, but similar to an “R” for foul language.

Running time: One hour and 22 minutes.

Streaming on Apple TV and Fandango Now.

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