Sports are an important part of childhood. They teach kids to work hard, they foster a spirit of healthy competition, they promote teamwork, and they give millions of people all over the world a dream to shoot for. At least, that’s the theory. They did nothing of the sort for brothers Jeremy (Mark Kelly) and Mark (Steve Zissis). These guys are out of shape, egotistical, they view competition only as an opportunity to put each other down, and there’s no chance athletics are taking either of them anywhere beyond their own back yards. They’re neurotic idiots, and the center of their neuroses are a series of games they’ve been playing against each other since they were kids called the Do-Deca-Pentathlon. This new film from writer/director brother duo Mark and Jay Duplass asks us to take pleasure in watching them behave badly.
By now most people have an idea of who Mark and Jay Duplass are. They started off making very small movies that they acted in themselves and with their friends. They then went on to make more mainstream movies like Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home, but without compromising their indie aesthetic or their penchant for getting loosely scripted, improvisation heavy performances out of their actors.
The Do-Deca-Pentathlon is actually a film that the brothers made before they branched out and started working with more recognizable actors, though it’s finally just getting a release on July 6. Hopefully the additional eyeballs they’ve gotten on their projects after working with names like Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly, Susan Sarandon, and Jason Segel will compel more people to watch this movie than would have way back when, and perhaps a rub can be given to some of the relative unknowns performing here – because, if this trailer is any indication, it really looks like they’ve put together a funny and heartfelt look at a family being torn apart and then put back together.
Check it out for yourself over at Apple, and mark July 6 on your calendars. It’s important to stay organized.