Monday, 19 July 2010
DVD REVIEW: HUMPDAY
Available now on DVD and Blu-ray
Like the best movies about sex, Lynn Shelton's Humpday is all talk, no action. So, too, are her protagonists: Ben (Mark Duplass), and Andrew (Joshua Leonard), who were best buds in college but have drifted apart in the intervening decade or so.
Ben is happily married and living a suburban life with babies a regular topic of conversation between he and his wife, Anna (Alycia Delmore). Andrew has not settled down. He leads a nomadic, somewhat bohemian, existence with no roots and no ties.
It's during their reunion that Ben and Andrew discover just how much they've changed in those years apart but in a bid to prove to themselves, as much as to each other, that they're still those fun loving dudes from college, they decide to enter an annual pornographic film competition where they will have sex with each other. “It's beyond gay,” they tell themselves, and anyone who'll listen, including a very confused but surprisingly understanding Anna, “it's art”.
I first saw Humpday at the 2009 Sydney Film Festival and it was, for me, one of the highlights. But Lynn Shelton's comedy failed to receive a theatrical release in Australia, again more about the means of distribution in this country as opposed to the quality of this and other films which suffer similar fates.
Shelton's film goes far deeper into the male psyche and its concepts of mateship and sexuality than anything you'll see exhibited by the manchilds in the films of Judd Apatow and his ilk. Admittedly it's no frills filmmaking, with no stars and a shoestring budget. And (spoiler alert) no sex. Like I stated earlier, Shelton is satisfied to discuss more than show; characters talk to rather than speak at each other.
That can be uncomfortable for some people, especially the boys who require an explosion every 10 minutes. And despite the humour, those same “boys” may be just as uncomfortable with the content of the chatter as much as the quantity.