Last week I reviewed a movie that Zac Pritcher, the beacon of enlightenment that he is, referred to as “a vampire movie that isn’t for faggots” in a desperately unsuccessful attempt to bring in readership from the hardass crowd. I’m curious to know what his reaction will be when he reads the synopsis for this latest piece of pointless schlock.
Humpday starts when Ben (Mark Duplass) and Anna (Alycia Delmore), a young married couple are awoken in the middle of the night by Andrew (Joshua Leonard, looking like he could be Zach Galifiankis’ brother), Ben’s freewheelin’ college friend who stops by for a surprise visit. After the old friends attend a party thrown by hippie lesbians, they hear of a porn festival entitled “Humpfest,” where patrons enter their own homemade porno movies.
After numerous debates, the two heterosexual friends, both feeling the need to push their limits, decide to make “an erotic art film” in which they have sex on camera. Naturally the decision does not go over well with Ben’s wife.
Humpday certainly gains points for originality. Despite the premise, it really isn’t a movie about homosexuality, or even sex. It’s about two friends who have taken drastically different turns through young adulthood who feel the need to really see how far they are willing to go with some of their more bizarre ambitions. Unfortunately, while the premise is interesting and unique, the movie is hardly a complete success.
The three lead performances are all very good. Duplass and Leonard are both very likeable and have good chemistry together. I also really liked the performance of Alycia Delmore. She’s more than just the bitchy wife who just doesn’t understand, and she’s a lot more engaging than you’d expect her character to be. We actually end up finding out she herself has felt the need to act out on some irrational tendencies she had to bury when she got married.
The ultra low-budget movie, shot on handheld cameras, almost has the look and feel of a documentary. Because of the whole amateur porn plot, the cheap look is actually beneficial to the story.
A problem I had with the movie is that its ultimately too talkie for its own good. I love good dialogue more than anything in the movies, and for awhile this film does a very good job at capturing the awkwardness of the situation through various uncomfortable conversations. However, these conversations run through most of the movie and while they are all interesting in and of themselves, strung together they get a bit tiresome.
I also didn’t really think things ended in a satisfying way. Going in, I decided to throw out all preconceived notions of what I thought would happen, but without giving too much away, when the movie ended I was left with the feeling that it really didn’t have any reason to be made. It started with a very awkward and unique idea but never really pushed it and just left us with a creative but ultimately pointless exercise is pushing one’s limits.
I know the premise for this movie is likely a turnoff for a lot of people, but it actually isn’t anywhere near as homoerotic as you might think. In truth, its themes of fulfillment and longing for a deeper meaning in life are actually quite universal.
But despite some nice touches, Humpday is basically a movie that starts at point-A then just stays there for 90 minutes without making any meaningful progressions. It is well acted and there are some funny and poignant moments but it just never seemed to connect with me in any significant way. In the end, Humpday is worth seeing strictly if you like to take chances in your movie viewing.
- Well acted
- Moments of funny insight
- Certainly unique
- Redundant and sort of empty
- Ends up proving to be a bit pointless
Final Score: 6.0/10 (Below Average)