Michael (Mark Duplass) has been diagnosed with terminal cancer in the new movie Paddleton, which he wrote as well as stars in. He’s kind of a loner and bit depressed, which makes sense. One day his neighbor Andy (Ray Romano) comes into the house and the two begin hanging out and playing a handball-like game they’ve made up called paddleton.
The neighbors’ friendship only deepens after Michael’s diagnosis as the time they spend watching movies and playing their game becomes more meaningful. A road trip to procure medication means even more bonding between these two sullen, closed off but still likable men who find they only have each other.
The one-sheet is pretty simple, showing the two men backlit against the sky as they stand on the street, rackets in hand. It’s billed here as “A comedy of dramatic proportions,” hinting at the dual nature of the story.
The trailer focuses clearly on the friendship between Michael and Andy, the latter helping the former deal with a terminal cancer diagnosis. We see them hanging out and playing sports together, while Andy explains that he doesn’t want to go on until it gets too bad for him to manage. The two go on a road trip to get the medications Andy needs, reinforcing the bonding that’s happening throughout the story.
It’s sweet, playing to the strengths of Romano and Duplass who both excel at character-driven dialogue and relationships. The story may seem a bit familiar, but it’s all about the execution in stories like this.
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Nothing here either, at least not that I’m aware of.
Media and Publicity
The movie was added in the second round of films announced as appearing at the Sundance Film Festival. While there Duplass sang the praises of Netflix, calling the company the only reason he’s still interested in making movies.
Romano and Duplass were interviewed together about the emotional story and the process of working together, including how Romano was attracted to the improv-like nature of the production. There were a few other interviews here and there as well.
This isn’t the highest profile release coming from Netflix recently, but it does have a significant pedigree and some great talent attached. That’s why it’s received a decent press and marketing push that has put more emphasis on the friendship and dynamic between Romano and Duplass than on the story of Michael’s life with cancer. Its’ appearance at Sundance helped bring it some attention, but the rest of the campaign is interesting, if largely by the numbers.