Review: Humpday (2009)


Director: Lynn Shelton | 94 minutes | comedy | Actors: Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard, Alycia Delmore, Lynn Shelton, Trina Willard

In the American art house comedy “Humpday”, two friends intoxicated by drugs and alcohol decide to make a porn movie. In fact, a porn movie in which two straight men engage in gay sex. In fact, a porn movie in which they themselves play the leading role. And what is even stronger: when the next day the hash walls have risen, the friends decide to continue with the plan.

The great thing about “Humpday” is that director / screenwriter Lynn Shelton knows how to make this premise plausible. At first, the male rivalry makes none of the friends want to back off. Later it turns out that more complex matters play a role. Shelton succeeds (albeit only just) to make those more complex matters credible, so acceptable to the viewer.

In “Humpday” you hardly find any real jokes, but some situations are hilarious. Like when married Ben tries to explain to his wife what Andrew and he are up to. The humor is mainly in the enormous detour he takes. It is also in scenes like this that the sketchy characters come to life a bit.

The apotheosis is less successful. Not because it is unbelievable, but because it lasts so terribly long. The droning and turning of the new porn stars will eventually get boring. It is great that the viewer starts to feel just as uncomfortable as the two friends.

The biggest problem of “Humpday” is not in its quality, but in reaching the right audience. Arthouse fans will probably find the plot too adolescent, while mainstream fans have no business with this film. “Humpday” is not a typical bromance movie, nor does it resemble a lighthearted arthouse like “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”. In terms of style (documentary), dialogues and psychological treatment, “Humpday” is rather in the hard arthouse corner of “Shortbus”. But then without explicit sex.

That wouldn’t be a problem for a masterful comedy, but “Humpday” is not masterful. Before that, the film lacks sharpness, depth of character and good jokes. “Humpday” is nothing more than a nice comedy and a wise lesson for anyone who wants to make a porn movie with their best friend. And who wouldn’t want that?

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