The Do-Deca-Pentathlon

SXSW 2012 film review

The Do-Deca-Pentathlon

Directors & Screenwriters: Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass
Two brothers compete in their own private 25-event Olympics.
Cast: Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis, Jennifer Lafleur
(World Premiere)

Film Synopsis (from SXSW.com)

WHO’S IT FOR? It’s not exactly as straight forward as it sounds. This is a very small production where the sporting events become secondary to the family issues.

OVERALL

Both Mark (Zissis) and Jeremy (Kelly) are competitive freaks. Sure that sounds like a lot of brothers when they get together. And sometimes it is that simple. There are some good family issues with The Do-Deca-Pentathlon. The Duplass brothers are back to their super low-budget roots.

That super low-budget sometimes hinders the film, sometimes it brings it to light in surprisingly touching ways.

Mark has a wife and son. Jeremy has poker. Both have issues. Jeremy sucks Mark into re-competing in the great Do-Deca-Pentathlon they used to do when they were kids. It’s what all brothers should do, and yes I’m being serious (and never had a brother). Table tennis, pool, swimming, basketball, batting cages, and many other “sports” are at the center of the competition.

For a while, I just wanted Mark’s wife to get out of the way. You see, there is more to this film than competing. I didn’t need that, but thankfully the film changes my mind. Mark is doing all of these competitions in secret. His wife doesn’t want him to for some pretty good darn reasons.

During this process, there’s a moment where it feels like Do-Deca goes too far. I was convinced because of tempers flaring, we were at the point of no return. That’s when the Duplass brothers surprise with a loving scene about family. It’s small, but so is everything else in this film.

Now, die-hard fans of all things Duplass will hate what I am about to say, but I wish this film had a bigger budget. It would have looked a little better, and I believe this concept is better served with known actors. Yes, I’m thinking Jason Segel and Jonah Hill. Sure, in other hands it could be too wacky. Not with them.

FINAL SCORE: 7/10

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