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Review: ‘Don’t Be a Dick About It’ documents brothers being brothers

Matthew Mullin, left, and his brother Peter Mullin in the documentary ‘Don’t Be a Dick About It’
Matthew Mullin, left, and his brother Peter in the documentary “Don’t Be a Dick About It.”
(Oscilloscope Laboratories)

It might sound like the name of a Seth Rogen movie, but “Don’t Be a Dick About It” is actually a tenderly observed documentary about two brothers — one of whom is a high-functioning young adult on the autism spectrum — that plays out over the course of one suburban Maryland summer.

Meet Peter, a ginger-haired 22-year-old (though physically appearing and acting much younger), whose 24/7 obsession with “Survivor” means his personal tiki torch remains close by his side for those meticulous Peter’s World Adventure re-enactments.

Meet Matthew, Peter’s alternately protective and badgering 15-year-old brother, who has a couple of his own issues to contend with, most notably a paralyzing fear of dogs.

As directed by their cousin, Ben Mullinkosson, the naturalistic production, which at times recalls Ira Wohl’s “Best Boy,” offers an everyday glimpse into a familial relationship that, from a distance, wouldn’t look all that different from that of most brothers, and that’s the point.

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But for all that brotherly friction, the Mullin boys ultimately have each other’s backs.

“The first thing I like is how he supports my autism and epilepsy,” Peter says as the two sit on their front steps itemizing the things they admire about each other.

Playfully taunting title aside, Mullinkosson’s film is an affectionate portrait of a fraternal bond that no tribal council could ever tear apart.

‘Don’t Be a Dick About It’
Not rated

Running Time: 1 hour, 9 minutes

Playing: Starts Jan. 3, Arena Cinelounge Hollywood


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