The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, was an interesting, humourous find. It’s a “sibling rivalry” movie; it’s a “buddy/brother” movie; it’s a “mid-life crisis” movie; and of course it was a pretty good movie. It’s older brother Mark’s birthday and he travels back to his mother’s house with his family to celebrate, and all is well until his uninvited, estranged brother Jeremy shows up. The brothers don’t get along and barely speak. The source of their conflict seems to be the “Do-Deca-Pentathlon”, a series of 25 events they put together in 1990 to see who was the “best brother”. The brothers were tied until the final event when their father pulled Mark out of the pool (in the middle of the breath holding competition) as he thought they were drowning. The Do-Deca ended in a controversial tie. Now, 22 years later, Jeremy starts the rivalry again.
The competition has a strange effect on both brothers. The events include ping pong, pool, laser tag, long jump, arm wrestling, rock-paper-scissors, a swimming race, field goal kicking, home run derby, skee-ball and of course holding their breath under water. Mark becomes obsessed, straining his marriage almost to the breaking point, while the formerly antagonistic Jeremy sees this and tries to calm things down. Through this all, the brothers do reconnect as all brothers do over time, and each is better for it.
The acting was pretty good; and the story was engaging, but sadly the camera work really made this indie film look indie. Several shots lost focus and the “zoom in” on a few looked jerkier than my last “budget” digital camera. This surprised me a little as the film was written and directed by Mark and Jay Duplass who had also done Jeff Who Lives at Home, Baghead and Cyrus, which I had seen and really enjoyed.
I wouldn’t say this is a “must see” film, but it still passed my evening enjoyably.