Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Humorous Humpday considers sex, guys and videotape

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge THE FINAL FRONTIER: Ben (Mark Duplass, left) and Andrew (Joshua Leonard) discuss the logistics of getting it on.
  • THE FINAL FRONTIER: Ben (Mark Duplass, left) and Andrew (Joshua Leonard) discuss the logistics of getting it on.

Two decades after sex, lies and videotape won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Lynn Shelton’s Humpday took the 2009 Special Jury Prize in Park City. While more thematically modest and overtly comedic, Humpday bears enough superficial similarities to Steven Soderbergh’s breakthrough film that it almost looks like a 20th anniversary tribute. The lo-fi indies each hinge on a titillating premise involving the recording of unconventional sexuality, yet both spend more time on the emotionally complex expressions of intimacy and identity than bedroom gymnastics.

Like sex, lies and videotape, Humpday begins with a reunion when a shaggy bohemian drops in on his straightlaced friend. City planner Ben (Mark Duplass) gets a surprise visit from wandering artist Andrew (The Blair Witch Project’s Joshua Leonard). Ben and his wife Anna (Alycia Delmore) have been trying to conceive, but Andrew’s presence increasingly distracts Ben from his middle-class life path. Ben skips his wife’s pork chop dinner to hang with Andrew and some polyamorous hippies at a house enigmatically called Dionysus. During a druggy, late-night discussion of an amateur porn contest, Ben suggests that the only frontier left uncrossed would be two straight guys having sex, and the old friends joke about doing each other.

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(Photo courtesy Magnolia Pictures)

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