This year’s festival will play home to at least one melancholic buddy comedy from the Duplass brothers, thanks to Alex Lehmann’s “Paddleton.” The dramedy reunited the three-time filmmaker with his “Blue Jay” writer and star Mark Duplass — who also produced the film, alongside his brother Jay Duplass — and adds in beloved “Big Sick” co-star Ray Romano for a story of two mismatched pals who undertake an “unexpectedly emotional journey.”
Per the 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.” The film’s first trailer doesn’t shy away form the tough stuff — Duplass’ character is terminally ill, and he’s hellbent on doing some bucket list stuff before ending his life on his own terms — but it also plays up the bond between the film’s main characters without getting too deep into the “misfit” side of their lives.
Despite the feel-good nature of the film’s logline and a breezy enough trailer, it seems the “Paddleton” will tackle at least one controversial topic: Duplass’ character is interested in assisted suicide, and it will be interesting to see how the film handles a narrative element that requires some big choices by its final act. “Paddleton” also stars Marguerite Moreau, Christine Woods, Alexandra Billings, and Kadeem Hardison, and will prominently feature at least two rounds of the eponymous paddle ball game.
“Paddleton” is the first film to spring from the Duplass’ deal with Netflix, a four-picture package that ensures that the indie wunderkinds’ upcoming output will always have a place at the streaming giant.
The film will debut at Sundance later this month in the Premieres section, before hitting Netflix on February 22. Check out the first trailer for “Paddleton” below.