Quickcard Review Humpday
Directed by: Lynn Shelton Cast: Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard, Alycia Delmore, Lynn Shelton Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: R Release Date: July 31, 2009 (Portland)
Plot: It’s been a decade since Ben (Duplass) and Andrew (Leonard) were in college. Ben has settled down and found a job, wife (Delmore), and home. Andrew took the alternate route as a vagabond artist. One drunk night leads to the idea of making "art" by taping two straight guys having sex ... with each other.
Who’s It For? Looking for a conversation flick that tackles some new ground? You've come to the right place.
Expectations: Based on the poster (my only knowledge of the film) I decided I was sitting down to a movie about to homosexuals who pretty much had the personalities of two straight guys ... and one had a big beard.
Oh indie films (happy sigh). There are a couple of rules that seem to apply and Humpday follows them quite well ... 1. Running time of 90 minutes. 2. Lots of close-ups of the actors. 3. A sudden ending. 4. Lots of talking.
There's a fifth that only a lucky few independent films get right, and that's making sure all of that talking creates unique, thought-provoking situations. Humpday gets that right, with lots of laughs as well. Sure there's some negatives as well, so I'll get them out of the way now. The film's not always in focus, this tends to remind me that I am watching a film and not a slice of life. And there are a couple of drawn out conversations that actually make this movie feel much longer than it is. Now, on with the good ...
Is there anything more stereo-typical than straight guys locked in a mutual dare? Well, here the stakes couldn't be higher. After a night of drinking and smoking the conversation eventually turns to sex (this is true in 99 percent of all late night drinking and smoking conversations). There's an annual amateur porn contest where you videotape yourself, show it at the contest, then burn the evidence.
When straight-laced Ben brings up two straight guys sleeping together, it eventually becomes Ben and Andrew. While the creation of the conversation seems a little forced, what follows is a great look into marriage, being an artist, friendship and awkwardness ... lots of awkwardness. Plus, is it just me or does Ben look like Quentin Tarantino's brother? While Andrew could play the relative of Zach Galifinakis.
Honesty should be the cornerstone of any good marriage. We've heard this many times. With Ben and Anna there are little moments where this is tested, and Ben is just self-obsessed enough in his focus of losing his freedom with eventual fatherhood. He opens up to Andrew instead of his wife. Whereas Andrew is struggling to pull off the struggling artist. OK, he actually has the struggling part down, but he's aware of his straight-laced roots.
The best moment is unique in what's being talked about, but it has all the classic make-up of a "Fraiser" or "Three's Company" misunderstanding. Andrew thinks Ben has told Anna, but that's not the case. It's just one of the funny moments this film brings to light. There's also some great lines throughout, like Andrew declaring, "You don't have to have a hard-on to bungee jump." Trust me, it fits in this film.
The ending truly works, and I'm actually tense for these guys, and oddly rooting for them to follow through to prove to the world (people at the amateur porn contest) that they can create, live and ... sleep with each other ... all in the name of art. Sounds ridiculous, but trust me, it works.
Final Score: 7/10