From the Duplass brothers come their latest drama-comedy, a small picture called The Do-Deca-Pentathlon that was somehow filmed over just a couple of days. Starring Mark Kelly and Steve Zissis, the movie is about two brothers who attempt to bridge their broken relationship by resurrecting a 25-round competition - the same competition that divided them years earlier.
Entertaining and well written, The Do-Deca-Pentathlon is fun until it becomes forgettable. The movie starts with a superbly crafted charity run that, with very few words, exemplifies not only how competitive Jeremy (Mark Kelly) and Mark (Steve Zissis) are, but also how much their relationship has disintegrated over the years. It's a simple scene, yet accomplishes so much.
Emotions boil over again not much later around the dinner table, which introduces another intriguing character, Mark's wife (played by Jennifer Lafleur). She at once hopes the brothers will reconcile and yet fears that their renewed bonding could destroy their friendship altogether. She is also threatened by Jeremy's presence, as he competes for time with her husband.
Unfortunately, at only 76 minutes long, The Do-Deca-Pentathlon feels like an incomplete film. The third act is lackluster, if only because the issues that surface don't seem fully realized. The marital issues between Mark and his wife are never fully fleshed out; the risk of their marriage crumbling doesn't seem like much of a risk at all. And admittedly, a week after watching the movie, I've already forgotten how it ends, because after a while it just doesn't matter.
The Do-Deca-Pantathlon is a rare indie film that would have worked better as a mainstream comedy. Had another thirty minutes been added to the production and the Duplass brothers been able to add more color to the actual "sports" the two brothers play, the movie could have been an energetic, entertaining and marketable film. As is, it's a well made but incomplete fancy and nothing more.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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