While the basic premise behind Humpday is simple and somewhat idiotic, the film is far from it. This indie comedy won the John Cassavetes Award at 2010 Independent Spirit Awards. It also won the Special Jury Prize and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. And rightfully so.
A longtime friend Andrew (Joshua Leonard) arrives without notice at Ben’s (Mark Duplass) house late one night. They are re-connected for the first time in years. Ben’s life consists of a pretty normal “white picket fence” type lifestyle according to Andrew. Andrew is a free-spirited artist that couldn’t be more different than Ben. The only thing they really share in common now are their old college day memories together. Andrew meets some new people the next day who happen to be artists and invites Ben over for dinner. Coincidentally Ben was originally meaning to invite Andrew over for a home cooked meal that his wife Anna was making just for the three of them. Ben breaks it to Anna that their plans are not going to happen because he feels slightly obligated to stay.
Andrew and Ben end up getting drunk and the newly founded artist friends inform the two of a upcoming local amateur porn festival. Andrew is immediately interested in the festival. Ben feels maybe slightly forced to fit in and drunkenly says that if they want to do something for the festival that it has to be something no one has done before. It must be unique. So he suggests he and Andrew have sex on camera because two straight guys having sex is not something that is usually done.
Sober the next day neither one of them want to back down and still think it’s a good idea. But there was still one more hurdle to get over, Ben needs to inform Anna of their plans. This is not an easy task to say the least.
Mark Duplass seems to play similar characters in his roles, just as in The Puffy Chair, he reminds me so much of myself, which really allows me to connect to the film better. Often mannerisms and what he says in situations are similar to how I am. I get the feeling that Duplass on the screen and off the screen are pretty similar.
Ben doesn’t know why it’s important to him to make this video, although it seems like it’s partly to prove to his good friend that he isn’t just a settled down domestic family man with a “white picket fence”. However, without realizing it they both are trying to prove something to themselves. Ben is trying to convince himself that his marriage is really open and that he can have his own freedom and independence. Also to see if he gets any sort of positive homosexual feelings from it. For Andrew he is trying to live his life the way he perceives his lifestyle should be, but then realizes that he may not be as open minded as he had thought. He is also trying to finally finish something from start to end in his life, something that he struggles to do.
All the actors and dialog seemed very natural in Humpday. It’s incredibly honest. Humpday didn’t really feel like a film because it was so real, instead it felt more like a documentary. There is no overly complicated plot here. Nothing happens in the film that couldn’t easily happen in real life, including the ending. Which some people may not appreciate but you must take it for what it is, realistic.