The Do-Deca-Pentathlon Movie Review: Battling Brothers

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As told to us in our Jay and Mark Duplass exclusive video interview, the filmmakers of The Do-Deca-Pentathlon went back to their 2008 film and were worried “that it wasn’t any good." That, they do not have to worry about. The film shows what a good script, a solid cast and two gifted filmmakers can do with a camera.

The Do-Deca-Pentathlon Mark Kelly and Steve Zissis

Filmed when they were just budding filmmakers, and not the successful duo that has produced Jeff, Who Lives at Home and Cyrus, The Do-Deca-Pentathlon is the most basic of films. And that is exactly why it grabs its audience by the collar and demands attention. Only two brothers who keenly understand the competitive nature of brotherhood could have crafted such a movie monument to brotherly battles.

Expertly crafted prose gives actors Mark Kelly (Jeremy) and Steve Zissis (Mark) ammunition for their covert war.

Based on a real event witnessed by the Duplass brothers growing up in New Orleans, the Do-Deca-Pentathlon features 25 varied contests. The winner of the majority of them is declared the best brother. In the film, the last Do-Deca caused the then-teenaged brothers a rift that has lasted decades. It concluded in a disputed tie. When it is said that a tie is like kissing your sister, then what does it mean to tie your brother? Horrors!

Mark is celebrating a big birthday and a party is being held at their childhood home. He is happily married with a tween son and they all jump on a plane and nervously head to mom’s abode. Meanwhile, Jeremy is a professional poker player less than satisfied with his life. In a moment of reflection, he gets up from a poker table and everyone’s lives are about to collide as he shows that, in fact, everyone can go home.

The two bond the first night over ping pong and billiards. It’s on and they don’t even have the psychological presence of mind to know it. 

The Duplass brothers bring a certain something to the cinematic experience. Proof of that fact is evidenced in one of their first films. The charming familial moments they have mastered most recently in Jeff, Who Lives at Home between Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon, show themselves in this early work.

Filmmakers with godly gifts have more often than not shown their brilliance from the get-go. Witnessing The Do-Deca-Pentathlon is one of those historic moments.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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