Not since last year’s Rachel Getting Married have I squirmed so much in my seat while watching a film. And just like RGM, it wasn’t a pleasant, awkward feeling like when you watch Michael Scott’s antics on The Office, this was full on I-wish-I-could-excuse-myself uneasiness. A whole string of recent Hollywood blockbusters concerning ‘bromances,’ have made the American male feel more and more at ease with showing their buddies affection, and being proud of it. Director Lynn Shelton takes that idea and runs with it far past the line of comfortable heterosexual bonding between males.
Ben (Mark Duplass) and Andrew (Joshua Leonard) are two college buddies who haven’t seen each other in a while. They’ve chosen different paths since school. Ben’s married, bought a house and just recently abandoned contraception. Andrew chose the boho life, traveling the world, creating art, and doing light recreational drugs. An impromtu reunion (Andrew shows up at three in the morning, and starts sleeping in Ben’s storage closet), turns into a sort of macho competition, each trying to prove something. A particularly boozy party brings up the discussing of Humpfest, a local amateur porn film festival that encourages people to take porno and turn it into something artful. The two friends decide that two straight men, best friends, having sex on camera, would be a great piece of art.
Duplass, a huge member of the indie, mumblecore movement, and Leonard, who’s currently on a three show run on HBO’s Hung, are perfectly cast and take the script (also by Shelton) to a place that feels very authentic and, well, awkward. The perspective on male relationships shown by Shelton is remarkable. How she manages to achieve this isn’t quite clear, but was is clear is that this is a hilarious, and well made little film. The film slowly makes its way (through long dialogue scenes that were largely ad-libbed by Duplass and Leonard) to a final climax that begins with the two in a hotel room and a camera. I won’t say what happens, but be prepared for an interesting cinematic experience. There is something to offend almost everyone in this flick, and clearly, they weren’t pandering to any certain audience. Humpday is hilarious, and awkward, but should be approached with a great amount of caution.