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Paddleton poster.jpg
Official poster
Directed byAlex Lehmann
Produced by
Written by
  • Alex Lehmann
  • Mark Duplass
Music byJulian Wass
CinematographyNathan M. Miller
Edited byChris Donlon
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • February 1, 2019 (2019-02-01) (Sundance)
  • February 22, 2019 (2019-02-22) (United States)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States

Paddleton is a 2019 American comedy-drama film, directed by Alex Lehmann, from a script by Lehmann and Mark Duplass. It stars Duplass and Ray Romano.

It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on February 1, 2019. It was released on February 22, 2019, by Netflix.


Middle-aged Michael (Mark Duplass) receives a diagnosis of terminal stomach cancer and plans to get medication to end his life. This upsets his older neighbor Andy (Ray Romano), as they are each other's best (and only) friends and escape from their menial jobs. Andy encourages Michael to try to fight the cancer, but Michael refuses to prolong any suffering. As per Michael's wishes, the two make pizzas together, watch kung-fu movies and play Paddleton, a game the two made up together. Andy promises to finally tell him a rousing halftime speech that he has been working on in secret.

Andy is reluctant to help Michael end his own life, but agrees to join him on a road trip to the closest pharmacy that will fill the prescription, which is six hours away, discussing wishes and visiting an ostrich farm on the way. They pick up Michael's prescription and check into a hotel, where they are mistaken for a gay couple. The two go to a karaoke bar, where a nervous Andy finally delivers his halftime speech in the bathroom mirror before helping Michael perform a scene from their favorite kung-fu movie. The two later break hotel rules by using a jacuzzi after-hours while drinking. They are caught by the hotel owner, who ends up joining them and flirts with Andy, who becomes uncomfortable after she mentions her deceased husband, whom she believes is "all around her."

Andy wakes up the next morning to find Michael gone with his medication (which Andy has kept in a drugstore safe) and panics, running all over the town to try to find him, only to discover him in the hotel lobby, waiting to meet up for breakfast. Andy tries to keep hold of the medication, until an annoyed Michael forces him to come to terms with the fact that he is dying, and that Andy needs to respect his wishes. The two drive back to Michael's apartment, where his condition quickly deteriorates. Michael reveals that he used to be married, but quickly felt uncomfortable in the marriage; however, he felt a sense of belonging with Andy as soon as they met. They discuss Andy's halftime speech (which Michael has already heard through the apartment's vents) and the possibility of an afterlife where Michael could haunt Andy.

With Michael ready to die, they prepare his final medication. After a brief moment of fear, Michael dies peacefully in his own bed after the two affirm their love for each other, leaving Andy devastated. Some time later, Andy encounters a single mother and her son moving into Michael's old apartment. He reassures them that they have the best apartment in the complex and explains the game of Paddleton to the son. Promising to give him a rousing halftime speech if he ever needs it, Andy returns to his own apartment with a smile.



In February 2018, it was announced Alex Lehmann had directed a film, from a screenplay written by him and Mark Duplass. It stars Duplass and Ray Romano. Duplass and Jay Duplass are credited as executive producers under their Duplass Brothers Productions banner, while Mel Eslyn, Alana Carithers and Sean Bradley are credited as producers.[1][2]


It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on February 1, 2019.[3][4] It was released on February 22, 2019.[5]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 89%, with an average rating of 7.24/10 based on 37 reviews.[6] Its critical consensus reads, "It takes its time coming together, but the quietly effective Paddleton pulls off a tricky tonal balancing act, thanks largely to the strengths of its well-chosen leads." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 70 out of 100 based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[7]


  1. ^ Kroll, Justin (February 21, 2018). "Netflix Lands Worldwide Rights to Next Four Duplass Brothers Films (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  2. ^ Nordine, Michael (February 21, 2018). "The Duplass Brothers Shot a Secret Movie With Ray Romano as Part of a Four-Picture Deal With Netflix". Indiewire. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  3. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 20, 2018). "Sundance Film Festival 2019 Last Minute Adds: Pics Starring Dakota Johnson, Demi Moore, Armie Hammer, Mark Duplass & More". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  4. ^ "Paddleton". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  5. ^ "Paddleton". Netflix Media Center. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  6. ^ "Paddleton (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Paddleton Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 22, 2019.

External links[edit]