SXSW Review: THE DO DECA PENTHATHLON

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

 Jay and Mark Duplass, the writers and directors of The Puffy Chair, Cyrus, and Jeff Who Lives at Home, are finally releasing this movie which apparently was made prior to Cyrus and Jeff. This sweet and funny film tells a tale of intense sibling rivalry, perhaps familiar material to the filmmaking brothers.  Mark (Steve Zissis) and Jeremy (Mark Kelly) have always competed against one another while growing up.  Through their adult years, their relationship has grown estranged.  When Mark, his wife Stephanie (Jennifer LaFleur), and their son go home to celebrate Mark’s birthday.  Jeremy crashes the party.  The two instantly renew their sometimes bitter rivalry and end up challenging each other to a 25 event competition.  Mark’s obsession with winning the Do Deca puts a strain on his marriage.  The brothers end up dealing with the unresolved issues of their relationship and the affects these problems have had on themselves and their loved ones.

 This may sound like pretty heavy and deep material, and it is in a sense.  However, the Duplass brothers have the talent to take these real life issues and play them for laughs.  As usual the writing is top notch and the performances of the cast are superb.  The film really doesn’t present anything too dynamic or groundbreaking, but for what it does offer, it does it quite well.  The film feels like an extended short film.  So while it does feel limited in scope, it still manages to excel despite the limitations.

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