Review: Paddleton (2019)

28 07 2020

Starring: Mark Duplass, Ray Romano
Director: Alexandre Lehmann
Screenplay: Mark Duplass, Alexandre Lehmann

The story of a man diagnosed with a terminal illness and how he and his closest friend deal with the news.  Although it moves slowly at the start you eventually come to love both main characters and the non-traditional lives they have built.  Despite a somewhat lonely existence they found each other and have carved out happy lives revolving around Kung-Fu movies, homemade pizza, and a racquetball/tennis hybrid called Paddleton. 

The fallout and reaction to the diagnosis take up the bulk of the film as we see them come to terms with the news.  Duplass is excellent as the afflicted character while Romano does an almost perfect ‘Eeyore’ impression in a great supporting role.  There are genuinely funny moments as they take a road trip and argue over medications as well as some heart wrenching moments involving feelings that guys just don’t discuss with each other in a world where male emotion is frowned upon.  These unspoken conversations between the characters are performed skillfully and lift the script to a level it could not have achieved with lesser actors.

In the end, predictably, they find acceptance and grow as people but not before you shed a tear for what is lost.  Their child-like relationship built on a foundation of poorly dubbed action movies turns out to be the exact kind of grown-up relationship we all wish we had with our closest friends. Even though it shouldn’t be confused with the best dramas out there it is worth a watch and overall an example of what great acting can do with an average script.




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