Since then, they have been estranged, until the boys' mother, Alice (Julie Vorus), holds a party for Mark's birthday where Jeremy is invited and surprisingly shows up. Both men, now in their early thirties, have gone on to become modestly successful. Jeremy, who is still single, lives off of poker tournaments he frequently plays, and Mark is married to the lovely Stephanie (Jennifer Lafleur), with their only son (Reid Williams).
Shortly after his arrival, Jeremy pens a contract, which, when signed by both brothers, okays them to partake in a revival of "The Do-Deca-Pentathlon" idea, where they start all twenty-five events over again from scratch. The stakes, if there were any, remain the same, along with the title, and it shows that these brothers haven't forgot about the "importance" of a sophomoric title or the compelling feeling they get from winning and triumphing over the other sibling. That is their way of saying "I love you." In order to keep quiet about the event, the brothers try all they possibly can to hide their events from their family, especially Stephanie, who is sick of the childish idea. Mark has been troubled quite a bit in his past, with high anxiety and psychiatric treatment, that begin to come forth when the event starts. He is not in proper shape to be doing this event. In fact, neither of them are. They are far too old for childish activities.
The Do-Deca-Pentathlon was written and directed by the Duplass brothers, Jay and Mark, who have sort of pioneered the genre of mumblecore, where amateur actors immerse themselves into humanly flawed characters, accompanied with naturalistic dialog and recognizable cinematography. They brothers continue with their theme or sibling disconnect, which was the main point of focus with their last feature, the wonderful and underrated Jeff, Who Lives at Home. This is their return to mumblecore, by definition, where as their two previous features included rather mainstream actors, yet still kept the rules of the genre in place - a featured bonus I hope they continue to do.
The only problem I can see is the same one I found with their two most recent efforts; the film's reliance on dead in the water style. The Duplass brothers love to utilize quick camera zooms during certain shots, to either put emphasis on something or just make it more apparent to the viewer. It's a distractingly unnecessary addition that leaves a lot to be desired. The brothers already have their own style. They don't need to perpetuate it even more than they already have.
The picture is concise at only seventy-six minutes, and its leads have the chemistry and the charm to carry the picture all the way through (especially Zissis, who has worked with Jay and Mark since their second feature, Baghead). The Do-Deca-Pentathlon illustrates a quirky and childish game, and the characters involved, with heart and soul, never condescending to the level of parody or ignorance that would've resulted in a cheaply made independent film. The Duplass brothers are too smart to fall in that territory.
Starring: Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis, Jennifer Lafleur, Julie Vorus, and Reid Williams. Directed by: Jay and Mark Duplass.