Title – Paddleton (2019)
Director – Alex Lehmann (Blue Jay)
Cast – Mark Duplass, Ray Romano
Plot – Neighbours and friends Michael (Duplass) and Andy (Romano) find a new level of importance in their relationship when Michael is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
“I can’t be normal through all this, I just can’t”
Review by Eddie on 14/05/2020
A quiet film, all about the characters and the seemingly every day mundane nature of our lives, Paddleton isn’t a big film in either scope or delivery but it’s an enjoyable showcase for two underrated actors who share a great on screen chemistry, ensuring Alex Lehmann’s Netflix film is worth tracking down.
Dealing with the familiar cinematic trope of terminal illness as a grounding, dealt with in a darkly comedic and humanly relatable way, Paddleton gives fans of indie darling Mark Duplass and TV icon Ray Romano the chance to witness the two actors share the screen as odd-couple neighbours and friends Michael and Andy.
Spending their days watching d-grade action movies, playing a sport they’ve invented known as Paddleton and discussing big life issues, the relationship between Michael and Andy takes on extra meaning when the younger Michael is diagnosed with a terminal illness and in light of that focuses on going out on his own terms before his condition gets to a state where he will no longer be able to function in a normal way.
Duplass is understated but effective as Michael, a forlorn figure coming to terms with his own mortality while Romano is even more memorable as Andy, a kindly loner who wants to do what’s best for Michael in his last days, as the two hit the road and try to live a little whilst doing so.
With the core of the film so solidly built around this unconventional friendship it’s a shame that the others we meet along the way and the situations we find Andy and Michael in don’t make more of a mark with Paddleton feeling better suited to a stage production rather than a feature film, so narrow is its focus and scope on others around the two central figures.
The best of these type of films such as Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine or About Schmidt all become something special when the ensemble that encompasses its lead/s are given time to shine and enhance those they support but Paddleton never opens up this way and the travails of Andy and Michael are only able to take us so far as Lehmann’s understated and forlorn effort pushes forward towards its non-showy finale.
Final Say –
A great showcase for its two talented leads, Paddleton is an enjoyable study of friendship and facing our mortality but it never attempts to do anything out of the ordinary.
3 hotel jacuzzi’s out of 5