occupation: Mark Duplass, Ray Romano
writer: Mark Duplass and Alex Lehmann
director: Alex Lehmann
Life would have been lonely, fun games and routine if it hadn't been for the opening scene Paddleton– The latest Netflix original with Ray Romano and Mark Duplass. It is "I am the dying guy, I am the other guy", with carefully sewn in pathos and humor.
In the hospital, the voice of a nurse who brought bad news precedes the body of Michael (Mark) and Andy (Ray), whose relationship is later questioned throughout the scene and everywhere. Priority is given to the fact that there is no fleeing death. Now it's up to the director Alex Lehmann, who also wrote the film with Mark, to witness the journey of these two socially awkward T-shirt and cargo shorts with medieval guys and the inevitable end that we are already aware of. Thanks to him for doing a pretty decent job.
Michael and Andy live in the suburbs of New York, where existence is generally suppressed. Wilted trees, wide, empty rooms and incredibly quiet mornings are just the cinematic translation of what flows here into life without money. It's a city that an average Joe would go to with his average buddy Joe if they retired and just weren't anymore. But, as fate would have it, Michael terminal cancer is diagnosed and he should leave Andy alone with his strange but confident self.
Michael wants to die a better Michael as he is now, not a drug addict, weak and unrecognizable Michael. He wants to buy drugs that will kill him from cancer and asks Andy to be an approving party for this decision. Not someone in his family, but Andy. That is the bond they share.
Andy is the older of the two, a little more sensible too. As his best friend would like, he willingly accompanies the euthanasia game, but realizes that killing his only source of love is not easy for him.
So he starts dealing with passive-aggressive behavior that he believes makes some sense to Michael regarding his desire to die. He even buys a safe to hide Michael's medication and refuses to give him the combination until he later knows that he can't afford to stop at a time like this, however he hurts himself deep down. Andy is selfish because he doesn't want to be alone after Michael dies, but not to the point where he would leave Michael alone just before he died.
The setup is emotional and there is an undisclosed depth in friendship. Nowhere do we feel how characters open up, even though they are understanding and loving to each other. It is the deep-seated fear in everyone, as is common among men – not to be weak or at least not to appear weak.
Andy has sleepless nights and only hears how his terminally ill friend is doing worse downstairs, but he is not consumed by emotions. Rather, he'll take a break with him to make pizza, watch movies, play scenes, play board games, go on excursions, and enjoy life.
Ray shines as Andy. It is both subtle and nuanced with its ticks of disapproval and irritation on the face. The body language is bowed, the words are minimal and grasp the crisis in middle age to the truth. Mark plays the guy who is afraid of dying and has to come to terms with it for his fearful and uncertain best. He leaves Ray in the spotlight while holding the show from behind. After all, he will die, but his friend will still be alive – that's where the gravity of emotions lies.
Paddleton is the game that Michael and Andy invented to spend time together. Paddleton is the movie you should watch on Netflix when you're in a sentimental drama that will almost bring you to a standstill.
Stars 2.5 / 5
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