Paddleton trailer

In the mid-2000s, Mark Duplass made a name for himself with a low-budget indie called The Puffy Chair and helped introduce the burgeoning “mumblecore” movement to cinephiles. Now, after a decade of near-constant movie appearances and starring on television shows like Togetherness and The League, Duplass is still embracing his low-budget roots by starring in a new movie called Paddleton. The Netflix film stars Duplass and Ray Romano as neighbors who hang out and goof off together after one of them is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Check out the trailer below.

Paddleton Trailer

Duplass and director Alex Lehmann wrote this screenplay together, and while I haven’t seen a physical copy of the script, I wouldn’t be surprised if this movie was largely improvised. This trailer makes the film seem like a throwback to the peak mumblecore era – it appears to be a series of loosely-connected scenes in which the actors have a general sense of what needs to happen, and they say whatever comes naturally in order to reach that goal. But either way, Duplass and Romano (who was excellent in The Big Sick a couple of years ago) seem like solid scene partners and the type of veteran performers who can easily keep a story like this afloat.

In addition to co-writing the script, Lehmann also directed Paddleton (which seems to be the name of a game the two characters play, and not a sentient, marmalade-loving tennis racquet). Lehmann only has two previous directing credits: a documentary called Asperger’s Are Us and the 2016 film Blue Jay, a critically-acclaimed drama that starred the other Duplass brother Jay opposite Sarah Paulson. But he’s been working in the industry for years as a camera operator and cinematographer, shooting projects as varied as America’s Next Top Model, Project X, Piranha 3DD, The League, and a really fun 2006 documentary called Air Guitar Nation. Paddleton marks his first writing credit.

Here’s the new film’s official synopsis:

An unlikely friendship between two misfit neighbors becomes an unexpectedly emotional journey when the younger man is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Paddleton will debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival early next month and then quickly be available to stream on Netflix beginning February 22, 2019.

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