I love my brother, but I’d kick his ass in a game of pool.
Two middle-aged brothers who always are at-odds with one another and continue to find ways to challenge each other in anything, relive their childhood with an immature competition to see who is the better athlete. However, the oldest-brother, Jeremy (Steve Zissis), has a bit of a problem since his wife is all against the idea of him running around like a crazy man, so he and his bro, Mark (Mark Kelly), decide to hide it from her and try their hardest to continue the games.
The idea of having two people, set-up against one another, in a full-out fledged-competition, in a total battle of the wits and strengths, definitely makes it seem like the type of movie that not just any person wants to see. No, when two people go against one another, no matter what the competition may be, most of the time it’s the dude’s that want to see it, while the ladies just stay home, drink their wine, and shoot the shit about soap-operas or whatever the hell it is they talk about behind us dudes’ backs. Either way, this is the type of movie that just spells out, “E-P-I-C”, not just by checking out it’s premise, but as well as it’s title. However, if there was one aspect of this movie that should have changed my mind right away, it was the fact that this was a production of Duplass brothers, and if you know these guys: they aren’t all about delivering stories on epic-proportions.
For the Duplass bros., this story is more about the brotherhood and thoughts of the middle-aged man, rather than any type of one-up man-ship that this story may have you think from the start. However, knowing what the Duplass’ do and do best, you can’t hate this flick for getting down to the nitty-gritty of a story and characters like this. The Duplass’ are all about no frills, no mills movie-making and even though it does get a tad annoying to see the shaky-cam constantly zoom-in-and-out to create that realistic look and feel as if we are really there, it still does make you believe you are watching a true story in front of your eyes, no matter how goofy these guys seem to be.
But trust me, these guys aren’t that goofy. Yeah, they like to challenge each other to anything they can; they like to bust one another’s balls; and they definitely don’t seem like the type of bros. that would just bond and shoot the shit about life, especially after one just beat the other in arm-wrestling competition. These factors of who and how they are, is exactly what makes them seem and feel like actual brothers who are not only growing-up, but growing-apart from one another and soon start to realize that maybe their time is up when it comes to being young, cool, lean, and mean again. That’s especially obvious for Jeremy, but Mark as well and the way that the Duplass’ handle this material with care by never allowing it to just turn into a one-joke premise, really surprised the hell out of me. I didn’t like Jeff, Who Lives at Home and I didn’t particularly care for Cyrus, but hey, I’m always down to be surprised by two dudes that know how to make movies, and realistic, every-day ones at that.
As the movie continues, you do start to feel more and more for these characters and understand why they battle each other in almost everything they do, but there does come a point in the story that I feel like the movie loses a great-bit of steam, and just decides to do the same thing, over and over again. For instance, they bring-up the fact that the oldest-bro can’t be doing all of this work and exercise because it may cause him some stress, so that by the end of the movie, the guy is a total nut-job and a freakin’ beast when it comes to being apart of the competitions and being at home, with his wife and kid. I get that the movie was trying to show us how this yuppie-like, middle-aged tool needed some sort of freedom from everyday life and just the right opportunity to release the beast, but it didn’t feel necessary to me and worst of all, just seemed like the Duplass’ were over-reacting.
Even worse, I feel like the movie was trying to have us side with the wife of Jeremy, when in reality: the chick was sort of a bitch. I get that the wife wanted her hubby to not be the total freak-out man that she expected him to be and to at least take it easy but come on! He’s with his bro, he’s having fun, he’s losing some weight, he’s getting the exercise, he’s gaining some self-confidence, and even better, his son is starting to think he’s cool again, so what the hell is so wrong with a guy having a little competition with his brother?!?? Okay, maybe it’s not a “little competition”, but the fact of the matter still lies; it wasn’t really doing much harm to anybody, except for her idea and plans of treating him to a nice b-day and that pretty much being it, before he went back to his life of normality and boredom. Sorry wifey, in this instance, the husband is the one who rules and needs to make himself happy.
That’s not to say that the gal who plays her, Jennifer Lafleur, doesn’t do a nice-job with her role; because she actually does a very nice-job at making us feel some ounce of sympathy for her, even if it does feel a bit needy and selfish. She’s like the rest of the cast, though, in by the fact that as good as she is, she’s nothing flashy, amazing, or powerful to say the least, she’s just fine and does what the script needs her to do. I could say the same, damn thing about Steve Zissis, Mark Kelly, and even Reid Williams, who plays the son that just wants his dad to stop being so ultra-lame, and starting being ultra-cool again. Don’t we all, though? The only person who I haven’t mentioned and with good reason, is Julie Vorus who plays the mother of the two boys. It’s not that she’s a bad actress or anything, it’s more or less that he role and writing demands her to just sit-there, be a cooky grand-mom, try to settle the peace between the two, and yet, still seem like a total air-head of the group. In all honesty, I could have done without grand-mom, but then again: I don’t think this story could have so it makes sense as to why she was there to do her own thing.
Consensus: Most people (guys mainly) will probably be bummed-out as hell to see that The Do-Deca-Pentathlon features more self-loathing and middle-aged people problems than any type of competition or one-on-one battles than you may expect, but if you want to see a flick that’s about family, being brothers, living life, and coming to terms with who you are, then this may be your flavor-savor for you. If not, just check-out the entire series of Kenny vs. Spenny. That will most likely have you feeling more-accomplished than this one.
7 / 10 = Rental!!