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When Andrew unexpectedly shows up on Ben's doorstep late one night, the two old college friends immediately fall into their old dynamic of heterosexual one-upmanship. To save Ben from domestication, Andrew invites Ben to a party at a sex-positive commune. Everyone there plans on making erotic art films for the local amateur porn festival and Andrew wants in. They run out of booze and ideas, save for one: Andrew should have sex with Ben, on camera. It's not gay; it's beyond gay. It's not porn; it's an art project. The next day, they find themselves unable to back down from the dare. And there's nothing standing in their way - except Ben's wife Anna, heterosexuality, and certain mechanical questions. Written by
As he walks to the hotel room for the final scene, Andrew walks in front of the home of Edith Macefield. Macefield was famous for stubbornly resisting the offers of developers and remaining in her tiny 108-year-old farmhouse while the surrounding properties were turned into a five-story commercial development. See more »
As Ben and Andrew explain to their video camera their story so far, Ben mistakenly refers to Andrew as "Ben". See more »
That's the tricky thing. It's the difference between this and bungee jumping, is that bungee jumping, you just walk to the edge and jump...
...and the whole thing takes care of you...
...and you don't have to have a hard-on to bungee jump.
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To set the record straight -- maybe pun intended -- "Humpday" is not a true gay and lesbian film, nor is it a "bromantic comedy" with homophobic slapstick. Lynn Shelton's film is simple: what if two best heterosexual guy friends somehow got it in their heads that filming themselves having sex with each other would be a good idea? "Humpday" explores the bond between men and the difficulty they have with intimacy, particularly when its sexual in nature.
Ben (Mark Duplass) is a recently married man planning on starting a family when his old best friend, the free-spirited Andrew (Joshua Leonard) shows up at his house in the middle of the night. At a party, the two learn about an amateur porn competition and come up with the idea that two straight best friends having sex with each other would make a real artistic statement. Although they laugh at the idea the next day, their machismo of not wanting to back out in addition to some internally buried needs they feel the film would fulfill turn the idea into a serious project.
The most prominent feature of "Humpday" is its amateur documentary film-making style. Shelton is filming like she's the camerawoman in the Real World house making a reality show. There's an impressive realism with the dialogue and the way the characters relate to one another and it only lets up in a few spots. The story does a great job convincing you that this could theoretically happen even though it never would. I don't think under any other set of circumstances other than the ones Shelton has imagined would something like this legitimately take place. Duplass, Leonard and Alycia Delmore as Ben's wife do their best to convince you otherwise. They really seem like legitimate people in real-life relationships.
At many points in the film, Ben and Andrew address why they're doing this. It's an important question to the film and one that should also be asked of Shelton too. At times "Humpday" is supposed to be funny but there's a lot of it which is meant to be taken seriously. You start to wonder yourself -- namely if you're a straight man -- if you'd be able to go through with it which is one of the film's great strengths. At other times, you kind of wonder why the issue has been blown up this much in the first place.
I think Shelton made this film because she wanted to explore the male bond and this was really the way to pull and push at it and manipulate it: by creating these circumstances. The film is surprisingly perceptive with some interesting insights into relationships but it gets a bit too hung up on two guys talking about having sex with each other and will they or won't they.
"Humpday" is an LGBT film in the sense that it comes from a very sexually open and progressive mindset. There are a couple women in the film for example, one played by Shelton in fact, that are in a relationship but one is into Andrew as well. In that sense LGBT characters are a significant part of the film, but they mostly add to the discussion of sexuality and relationships as seen through these two best friends. Lose any expectations that the poster art and brief summary provide and "Humpday" will leave you pleasantly surprised.
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