Chances are that you are familiar with Ray Romano from his well-known sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” or his voice on the "Ice Age" films. Romano is best known as a comedian but seems to be changing this between his 2017 rom-com “The Big Sick” and his new Netflix movie “Paddleton”.

"Paddleton" is a story of two best friends and neighbors whose friendship faces some challenges when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer and establishes Ray Romano as a force to be feared. The "Paddleton" movie has light moments of comedy but it is when the Film hits quieter and more natural moments that Ray Romano’s dramatic bits of comedy become more readily apparent.

'Paddleton' plot

The film is directed by Alex Lehmann featuring film star Mark Duplass who plays the role of Michael who is battling cancer. The other film star is Ray Romano who plays Andy, a character contemplating the idea of life after Michael’s demise. Rather than waiting for his illness to run its course, Michael decides it is better to go while he is relatively healthy and still in control of his faculties. This choice causes Andy and Michael’s routine of kung-fu movies, pizza, and a game called “Paddleton” to shift in terms of emotions.

Michael’s time is running out but so is his best friend’s, Andy. There is a starkness to "Paddleton" coming from the subject of assisted suicide, on top of the realization that these two men have each other.

The two neither really have any other friends nor any attachments to their jobs and their families are really not in the picture.

It is an awareness that alleviates all the quirky qualities that might have derailed the movie. The two men set off on a short road trip to pick up Michael’s medication which he will use to take his own life.

Andy becomes insistent on paying for everything as the two men strive to be around each other. Andy purchases a safe wbut he doesn’t give the combination to Michael, in an attempt to keep the medication safe.

Sensitivity and sweetness

The shaggy-dog quality works in its favor making "Paddleton" largely improvised. Romano and Duplass acted off of an outline rather than the traditional full script we are used to.

There is a scene at a bar that involves a recreation of the pair’s favorite kung-fu movie. There are sensitivity and sweetness between the two up to the very last believable moment.

However, what’s truly impressive is the film’s ending. "Paddleton" roams into the quirky indie territory but does not succumb to the usual happy ending we are used to. Duplass and Romano's relationship has been mistaken for romantic love by various other characters but it's quick to clear up. The idiosyncrasies of each of their characters are no longer used as a smokescreen for the depth of their feelings.

"Paddleton" is bold enough to question the manner in which people live or die without each other. There are enough movies about men learning to deal with their feelings but Paddleton’s specificity stands out.