This review originally appeared in shorter form on KSNT-NBC, KTKA-ABC, and KTMJ-FOX, Kansas First News.
The big DVD and Blu-ray release this week was Marvel’s The Avengers, but since that is now the third-biggest movie in the world and you’ve probably already seen it at least twice by now, I thought I’d review two new movies out on Blu-ray and DVD that you may have missed.
The Do-Deca Pentathlon is a low-budget indie comedy from Mark and Jay Duplass, a filmmaking team of brothers, so it’s fitting that their newest movie was inspired by a real-life sibling rivalry. It’s a low-budget, simply-shot tale about two middle-aged brothers (played by Mark Kelly and Steve Zissis) who are only happy when they are competing against each other.
As kids, a disputed 25-event personal Olympics defined their childhood. As adults, during a trip to Mom’s house for a birthday, they’re at it again. You’ve seen overgrown man child characters in plenty of Will Ferrell movies, but The Do-Deca Pentathlon is funny without playing for laughs. The brothers’ competitive nature is destructive to their relationship—not to mention their families—and it creates lots of uncomfortable and very funny moments. Eventually, deeper truths about the brothers are revealed, even if the road to acceptance may be long.
The Blu-ray and DVD could have a lot more stuff on it, but it does contain a couple of quick featurettes about the real-life brothers who inspired the movie.
Not much should really be said about Hysteria. If The Do-Deca Pentathlon is a low-key comedy, then the British comedy Hysteria, set in England at the end of the 19th Century, is like the dumbest Adam Sandler flick around.
Don’t be fooled by the period costumes and British accents, Hysteria is as obvious and pandering as comedies get.
Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, it wants to revel in the silliness of its story—about a popular diagnosis of frustrated women in the late 1800s and the subsequent invention of the vibrator—but its desperate eagerness to do so renders it unfunny and pandering.
I get the idea: It’s like The Full Monty but a century earlier. Unfortunately, it telegraphs all of its plot points and makes its actors look even sillier than the story.