Sundance Review: Humpday - A
This is the mother of all squirm in your seat awkward movies. Humpday is about two estranged college friends, Ben and Andrew, who after years of no contact are reunited. In their years apart, life could not have taken them on more separate paths. Ben (Mark Duplass) has become a run of the mill suburban stereotype complete with white picket fence and Andrew (Joshua Leonard) has spent his time abroad as a bit of a wandering artist. Upon reuniting, it takes no time for these two to get themselves into a mess of epic (and for some, disturbing) proportions. In a fit of drunken one upsmanship the two manage to talk themselves into entering an amature porn festival hoping to become the first straight men to have documented gay sex, all this in the name of art. Sweet, sweet art.
I applaud writer/director Lynn Shelton for her excellent ability to make the audience feel as if they were front and center for every tense and very awkward conversation of the film. Can you imagine having to tell your wife you are going to have sex with a man on film, and not have a rightly good explanation of exactly why you want to do it? Geesh.
Humpday was made in a very unconventional way. Rather than cast for the characters in the story, she wrote and created story around the actors that were cast. Shelton has referred to her style as "an upside down way of making movies." After a story has been hatched, the film is shot chronologically to allow for story adjustments. The story was so fluid in fact that the cast and crew still had not decided upon an ending until they shot it. "That was one thing we kept for ourselves was deciding what would happen in that hotel room." she said.
The spontaneity of the creative process was certainly not lost in the final product. The smooth, natural dialogue of the wonderful cast made for a laugh a minute, most notably the chemistry between Mark Duplass and co- star Alycia Delmore. The conversations between this on screen husband and wife are just too real. Its creepy really. Like looking into some..... creepy...... Twilight Zone movie mirror or something.
If crude comedy is your thing (and it should be damnit) then Humpday will do you right.
The Dude Abides