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SIFF2009, Day 15

June 5, 2009
Humpday (2009) Dir. Lynn Shelton

From Blogger
Humpday is the little, Seattle film that everyone is talking about.  It won a special jury prize at Sundance and is opening nationally in July.  This is a bit of a shock that a small, "mumble" core movie based on local The Stanger's annual porn competition Hump has leaped into the limelight.  Although, perhaps the timing is perfect for Lynn Shelton's film as there is interest in movies about relationships between men, recently dubbed bro-mance movies (i.e. I Love You Man).  But Humpday has much more realism and characters with depth in comparison to any of the Apatow movies.

In Humpday, Andrew (Joshua Leonard) shows up at Ben (Mark Duplass) and Anna's(Alycia Delmore) home looking for a place to crash.  Andrew and Ben were good friends in college, but their lives have moved in very different direction.  Ben has gone the traditional route and is married and owns a home in Seattle, while Andrew wanders the globe and considers himself an artist.  Shortly after Andrew's arrival, he and Ben have a few too many drinks and decide that as Andrew's next big mind-altering project, they should shoot a porn movie for Hump.  Because two straight men having gay sex on camera makes some sort of artistic statement. 

But the next day, this idea definitely transforms to a dare that neither is willing to back down on.  Ben doesn't want Andrew to believe that marriage has made him predicatable or dull.  Andrew also is reacting to a situation that revealed that he isn't nearly as comfortable with his sexuality as he thinks he should be and so both men feel they need to prove to the other that they could make this movie, even though they are straight and do not want to. 

How the movie plays out makes it a very awkward comedy.  But unlike most Hollywood comedies, this one does shine a light on relationships.  I really enjoyed watching Ben interact with his wife.  I thought she would be more stereotypical, but over the course of the film, I found I could really relate to her and Ben's relationship. And for me, it highlights why sometimes the lies are more about protecting someone's idea of who you while othertimes they happen in order to challenge or destroy a perception of who you really are.  And I think these two men along with most of us are struggling with the idea of who we are versus how the world sees us and even how those closest to us sees us. 



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