paddleton (2019) offers that contemporary vision of the friendly and authentic relationship between two mature men who simply share what they like and what bothers them. It is an independent film that addresses the story of Andy, played by Ray Romano himself (yes, the one from Everybody loves Raymond), and his great friend Michael, played by Mark Duplass (yes, the one from the Duplass brothers, who have their independent film production company and also produce this one).
It turns out that Michael has cancer in his stomach and must deal with it until he awaits death. His doctor offers him an alternative with certain drugs, one of which will make him less bearable at the last moment, that is, it will cause him to be euthanized if he decides to finish early. But in order to fill the prescription, he must travel to a picturesque city on a six-hour road trip, and of course Andy will have to accompany him. Upon arriving at the hotel, the receptionist Nancy (Dendrie Taylor) confuses them and thinks they are a couple, which leaves them puzzled. Actually, Michael and Andy are kind of weird, but they’re not gay.
Michael is somewhat shy and spends his time watching television in his apartment, while Andy works as a file clerk, is very meticulous with the use of language, and lives right in the apartment above. The two meet to eat homemade pizza and often watch the same karate movie whose plot, Andy says at some point, is not only about martial combat but about a greater spirituality between the characters, a master and his apprentice, who end up the same way. being great friends.
Michael and Andy also spend their free time playing “paddleton”, a kind of racquetball that they invented and that they practice on a very high wall of an abandoned drive-in; The biggest attraction of this game is putting the ball in a water tank that they put in the middle of the “field”. The “paddleton” is something like the materialization of the “charolastrismo” that Alfonso Cuarón refers to in “Y tu mamá también”, only that in the case of Andy and Michael the bond is appreciated with an even deeper feeling.
This is the second film directed by Alexandre Lehmann (his first was Blue Jay, 2016) who also wrote the script in partnership with Mark Duplass himself. A very legitimate and spontaneous story that is solid and without pretense; An example of this is when Nancy makes a very direct pass at a grieving Andy in a jacuzzi and when he rejects David (Kadeem Hardison), the pharmacist, who in a town bar wants to get in touch with Michael in a matter of movies. karatekas.
Thus, the entire film meant an interpretive challenge for both Duplass and Romano, who here abandons his bevel as a comedy actor and gets into the character of Andy, accompanying his friend in his illness, just as the martial arts student carries his physically handicapped master. This plot is half road movie and half comedy/play (due to its naturalness) that unfolds visually through shots with a good dose of cinéma vérité and with two stupendous performances, especially in the conclusion that is shocking due to its verism.