Sundance 2009 Review: Lynn Shelton's Humpday
by Alex Billington
January 17, 2009
Thought it couldn't get any gayer than Milk? Guess again. Well, that's not entirely true, but the concept of Humpday may throw some audiences for a loop, but I promise it's worth it in the end. In short, when an old college buddy unexpectedly shows up late one night, his arrival causes his friend's happily married life to take a wild spin. The two male buddies decide, while inebriated and in the company of other gays, to shoot a gay porn together just to prove their love for one each other. Don't worry, it's rather light-hearted and tremendously funny and should please audiences in a way they've never been pleased before.
Humpday stars fellow filmmaker Mark Duplass (one half of the Duplass Brothers) as Ben and newcomer Alycia Delmore as his wife Anna. Joshua Leonard plays Ben's old college buddy Andrew and reminds me a bit too much of Zach Galifianakis. All hell breaks loose after the two soberly decide to still go through with the "plan" and Ben must break the news to his wife. The three have stunningly realistic chemistry that completely fooled me. In fact, this could have been passed off of as documentary (or mockumentary) because it literally seemed like they weren't actors, but were actually themselves in this situation.
First and foremost, Humpday is the purest definition of an independent film, shot on a shoestring budget. But as long as you can appreciate solid filmmaking and witty humor, the budget shouldn't be a concern. The biggest problems were that some of the dramatic scenes felt much too drawn out and unnecessarily long, and overall the film lost its steam by the end. While it's funniest at its beginning, the pay off has to be as equally funny. I won't dare say whether or not they go through with it, but the end just wasn't as satisfying. Although if you're in the mood for a great indie comedy, Humpday is one not to miss.
Sundance Rating: 7.5 out of 10