Humpday, an off-beat buddy movie, surprised me. I went to see the Baltimore screening with my husband David because we’re members of the Maryland Film Festival.
I hadn’t read about it before going but fully expected the typical formula for former college buddies who re-unite after going in different directions. I expected stupid run-of-the-mill sex jokes and gags. Instead I found something different.
Andrew (Joshua Leonard) knocks on Ben’s (Mark Duplass) door unannounced late one night after they parted ten years ago from wild-boy college days. Ben is married, owns a house, lives a white picket fence life and is starting to work on a family with his wife Anna (Alycia Delmore). Andrew is a wandering artist who has traveled the globe and lives a free-style life. One thing leads to another and they decide to make a porn movie that’s not porn but art and have sex together even though they are straight and not gay.
There’s much more to the story but I found the relationship dynamics interesting. The story was merely the vehicle to set the scene to examine relationships between two men and between a man and his wife. It looks at games we play in these relationships, what we hide from others as well as ourselves, how people are not always who they seem to be and how sometimes we have to push the boundaries in order to discover who we are.
Writer/director Lynn Shelton beautifully explores the ironies of life and relationships through able actors and realistic filming techniques. The camera is hand held and actors frequently walk in front of the lens, blocking all view from the audience. Dialogue among the characters mimics the rhythm of real conversations where one voice interrupts and sometimes several people are talking at once. The conversational flow and the camera work create a setting that pulls the viewer into the scene with a “you are there” feeling. In spite of the lack of car chase scenes, guns and explicit sex in the plot, this movie maintains a tension through its characters and dialogue.
Most of the audience for our screening got up and left as soon as the credits began to roll. They appeared to be eager to leave and not because they liked the movie. David and I talked with another senior couple—he liked it but she felt uncomfortable. David and I both liked it and how the movie makes you think about relationships in your own life.
You should see it and decide for yourselves. It is unlike any other buddy movie you have seen.
Humpday is a comedy and is rated R. It starts this Friday, July 31 at the Charles in Baltimore.
You can see the trailer .
To read a better written review of Humpday, check out the New York Times here:
And here’s one from the Baltimore Sun with a focus on the writer/director, Lynn Shelton and the influence of the Maryland Film Festival on her creativity:
By the way, Humpday does not have a Website by its title as most films do. If you go to http://humpday.com you’ll discover a search engine that very close to Google’s style. However, given its name and possibilities for implanted malicious code on computers, I wouldn’t use it until I found out more.