The Do-Deca-Pentathlon (2012)
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
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Critic Reviews for The Do-Deca-Pentathlon
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.
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.
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.
The performances, especially by Zissis and Lafleur, are effectively low-key, making their characters' occasional emotional outburst all the more compelling.
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.
The brothers' bickering can be amusing at times but even at 76 minutes, the movie feels repetitive and overly long.
Audience Reviews for The Do-Deca-Pentathlon
Stephanie: It's not just sports between the two of you.
The Duplass brothers, particularly Mark Duplass, must be doing something right. This year alone, Mark has been in four movies and still has The League on FX coming back in the fall. He and his brother Jay have also been doing quite well. Earlier in the year, their film Jeff, Who Lives at Home came out in theaters and now they have The Do-Deca-Pentathlon hitting theaters and VOD. 'Do-Deca' was actually made a few years ago, but between 'Jeff' and 2010's Cyrus it would seem that the Duplass' have been given the chance to put out their much smaller and more personal movie. 'Do-Deca' is a minimalist sort of feature that doubles as a high stakes sports film and an exploration of sibling rivalry. It is certainly small scale, but also well done.
read the whole review at thecodeiszeek.com
'The Do-Deca Pentathlon'. Sibling rivalry taken to hilarious, extreme heights and a solid emotional core to boot.More
Embracing the nature of sibling rivalry and a desire to return to the familiar, The Duplass Brothers bring a dark comedy that lives and breathes reality with every passing event. Steve Zissis and Mark Kelly play brothers Mark and Jeremy who haven't communicated most of their lives but meet up one weekend when Mark and his wife and son visit their mother for his birthday weekend. With Mark stressed out and on medication, everyone sees Jeremy's presence as a bad thing. However, when he pitches the self-titled, made-up Do-Deca Pentathlon to Mark, which they did as kids with no clear winner, Mark is determined to beat his brother, at any cost necessary, including lying to his family, missing his birthday party, and causing multiple scenes. As much as the stakes are a little melodramatic at times, the comedy is there. With believable performances from Zissis and Kelly, the film stays on track for most of its run. Unclear as to the actual motives of the wife, Stephanie (Jennifer Lafleur) and her instant hatred for the competition, her part in the film feels derivative, a hindrance for the sake of hindrance. "The Do-Deca-Pentathlon" screams the styling of the Duplass Brothers, and continues their recent run with available, dark comedies. Still surprising that Jay and Mark did not star in the film, you have to wonder how much of this is autobiographical between the two.More
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