Academic politics are so vicious, the saying goes, because the stakes are so low; regarding brutality-to-minuscule-impact ratios, however, the squabbles of higher-learning professionals have nothing on sibling rivalries. As kids, Mark (Steve Zissis) and Jeremy (Mark Kelly) engaged in a multievent athletic competition that, due to a technicality, ended with a disputed draw. An impromptu reunion at their mom’s house brings those old tensions to a head, and Mark’s wife (Jennifer Lafleur) warns her neurotic, high-strung husband to ignore Jeremy’s tauntings. No dice: These middle-aged dudes have unfinished family business to settle. They will repeat the legendary Do-Deca-Pentathlon—and this time, there will be a definitive champion.
It’s tempting to think that filmmakers/real-life bros Jay and Mark Duplass lifted this story out of their own scrapbook (they’ve hinted in interviews that something similar transpired in their youth), and given that this lo-fi dramedy is only a baby step above hastily edited home-movie quality, you wish they’d just released their own Super-8 chronicles. Made before they started dipping their toes into the Hollywood pool (and then summarily shelved), this orphan entry in the Duplass oeuvre exhibits lots of their trademark amiable amateurism, but no amount of flabby guys flexing to a Chariots of Fire–like score or random camera zooms will keep their sloppy indie from exhausting your patience. They’re not doing themselves any favors by letting this oldie out of the vault.
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