The Do-Deca-Pentathlon

The Do-Deca-Pentathlon

2012, R, 76 min. Directed by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass. Starring Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis, Jennifer LaFleur, Julie Vorus, Reid Williams.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., July 6, 2012

Although The Do-Deca-Pentathlon was filmed in 2008, this microbudgeted production waited for completion until Jay and Mark Duplass finished their two Hollywood financed films – Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Now that the filmmaking brothers have directed such stars as Marisa Tomei, John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, and Ed Helms, and demonstrated that they can wield a camera like the pros they are, the Duplass’ can return to a zoom-happy, no-big-names free-for-all like The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, which premiered at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.

The film is a story of brotherly love, albeit warped and competitive. Brothers Mark (Zissis, who has appeared in several Duplass films) and Jeremy (Kelly) have been estranged since the summer of 1990, when they engaged in their self-devised do-deca-pentathlon of 25 events. A family gathering starts their juices flowing again. Mark’s wife Stephanie (LaFleur) is appalled and worries that the games will create too much stress for her husband. Then, once he fabricates a story to get out of the house and compete, she grows angry. Mark’s son (Williams), however, becomes increasingly proud of his dad with every bit of competitive edge that is stripped bare. Here and there, gruff forays toward real communication emerge, and the camera zooms in hyperactively on anything of potential interest. The problem, ultimately, is that little of this is of any real interest. The brothers’ bickering can be amusing at times but even at 76 minutes, the movie feels repetitive and overly long.

For a related interview with Jay Duplass, see "The Fraternal Order," June 1, 2012.

More Jay Duplass
The Fraternal Order
The Fraternal Order
The Duplass-a-Thon charts the evolution of a goofily lovable archetype

Melanie Haupt, June 1, 2012

More Jay Duplass
Austin Film Festival: A Conversation With Jay Duplass
Austin Film Festival: A Conversation With Jay Duplass
On making movies and making babies

Rod Machen, Oct. 25, 2014

More Jay Duplass Films
Jeff, Who Lives at Home
The Duplass brothers return with this finely observed slice of life starring Jason Segel, Ed Helms, and Susan Sarandon.

Kimberley Jones, March 16, 2012

John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, and Marisa Tomei co-star in this Duplass brothers' comedy about a young man's obsessive attachment to his mother.

Marjorie Baumgarten, June 25, 2010

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Bullet Head
A cracking good Tarantino-esgue heist film

Dec. 8, 2017

Joachim Trier’s <i>Thelma</i> Is a Riveting Tale of Psychic-Sexual Coming of Age
Joachim Trier’s Thelma Is a Riveting Tale of Psychic-Sexual Coming of Age
Love makes the world burn down

Dec. 1, 2017


The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis, Jennifer LaFleur, Julie Vorus, Reid Williams

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)