The Do-Deca-Pentathlon (2012)
Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 10
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Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 3
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 1,795
From Jay and Mark Duplass, the writer/directors of the Sundance hits The Puffy Chair, Cyrus and the upcoming Jeff Who Lives at Home comes The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, the story of two grown brothers who secretly compete in a homemade Olympics during a family reunion. When their fierce and disruptive competition is uncovered, the brothers must choose between their passion for beating the hell out of each other and the greater good of the family.-- (C) Official Site
Jul 6, 2012 Limited
Sep 18, 2012
20th Century Fox - Official Site
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So much of this oddly named but perfectly played dramedy feels real, from the revisits to VHS tapes in parents' basements to the way a family member's glance can trigger fight-or-flight responses.
The performances, especially by Zissis and Lafleur, are effectively low-key, making their characters' occasional emotional outburst all the more compelling.
There's a joke here, obviously, in the spectacle of two out-of-shape adults making fools of themselves at sporting events. Unfortunately it's the only joke, and it eventually wears thin.
A decent idea for an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond," "The Do-Deca-Pentathlon" falls short as a movie.
"Do-Deca" can't always overcome the sensation that this is as much a no-budget as it is a no-holds-barred affair. But the sardonic slights and crafty insights are steadily there.
If it were any shorter, it would lack depth. If it were any longer, it would most likely seem a strain. As is, there's an emotional honesty here that registers quickly and often.
But if Cyrus succeeded as a marriage of established (that is to say, bankable) Hollywood performers and the already codified mumblecore aesthetic, The Do-Deca-Pentathlon comes off as pointless retread.
The Do-Deca-Pentathlon doesn't quite possess enough plot or substance to wholeheartedly warrant the full-length-feature treatment.
You've seen overgrown man child characters in plenty of Will Ferrell movies, but The Do-Deca Pentathlon is funny without playing for laughs.
The picture is strangely anticlimactic, despite highlighting numerous sporting events and a toxic domestic atmosphere, content to leisurely resolve discontent that feels like it deserves a more forceful approach.
The story girding Do-Deca - though intriguing - doesn't feel as well-developed as previous Duplass scripts. As a result, it never quite resonates, style be darned.
The wisest choice of all is to cast talented unknown actors, who make these characters and the absurd goings-on feel that much more real--and hence all the more funny.
I think the film gets better as it wears on, as the characters finally start to feel more relaxed and natural, and by the end, I bought the sentiment it reaches for.
A lot of fun as a comedy of men behaving badly, the Duplass brothers' film also digs into masculine norms and methods of communication and respect with a lot of recognizable truth.
The film is just 76 minutes long, but I left the theater feeling nourished and satisfied.
The Duplasses know how to put a small film like this together with soothing ease, and they never tax the audience with contrivances or excess baggage.
Even though their films maintain an improvised feel, none of the sequences linger; once they make their dramatic point, the next one starts. Couple that efficiency with the movie's short running time, and you've got a small, simple, and successful indie.
Although it assumes a light, inoffensive tone, Do Deca is unquestionably the brothers' most personal film by virtue of its antiheroes, a pair of warring siblings seemingly inspired by the directors themselves.
You get the sense that the Duplass brothers know in their hearts that their characters are hopelessly immature. But you also get the sense that the filmmakers understand their characters in a way that probably makes even them uncomfortable.
This movie understands the way a friendly contest can turn deadly serious, the way something trivial suddenly takes on life-changing importance.
The balance of comedy and drama here is just right, and The Do-Deca-Pentathlon never runs out of steam, heart, or laughs.
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