Friday, July 17, 2009



Humpday Can two straight guys talk themselves into making porn with each other on camera? As absurd as it might sound, the story unfolds amazingly convincing in director Lynn Shelton's award winning (Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Independence at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival) comedy "Humpday" (USA 2009 | 94 min.). This charming film eloquently explores the complex and fascinating male bonding relationship between two protagonists.

Ben (Mark Duplass) settles down with his wife Anna (Alycia Delmore) and they plan to have a baby. However their nesting life becomes topsy-turvy when drifter Andrew (Joshua Leonard) shows up one night unannounced. Ben and Andrew recharge their best-buddy male bonding that traces back to their college years. How? They want to "reclaim pornography back to the art world" by having sex on camera and submitting the film to the HUMP!, an annual film festival in Seattle presenting amateur pornography.

Sound strange? Amazingly so. However, what's remarkable is to witness how Ben and Andrew push the envelope to the limit and talk themselves into this wacky episode, sincerely and innocently.

Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard in HUMPDAY, a Magnolia Pictures release.  Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Ben and Andrew show the perfect chemistry as buddies on screen, although they are not gay. These two straight guys talk like, well, two straight dudes talk to each other. Their conversation is incredibly naturally and the actors never appear to be reciting lines. That's probably because they actually are not reading lines—according to writer/director Lynn Shelton, most of the dialogues are improvised by the actors themselves during the shooting. They are genuine, funny, and impressive.

It is a delicious surprise that each scene is quite believable and engrossing no matter how unbelievable and bizarre a situation the characters are in. In the end, indeed these two buddies made a piece of art in film, regardless if that is pornography or not.

"Humpday" opens on Friday, July 17 at Landmark's the Embarcadero Center Cinema in San Francisco and the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley.

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