Humpday DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.5
Video 6.5
Audio 8.0
Special Features 7.5
Total 7.5
Distributor: Madman
Classification: MA15+
Minutes: 95
Reviewer: Simon Black

7.5


Humpday
 

Things are going well for settled city planner Ben (Mark Duplass).  As he approaches 30 his life checks all the middle class boxes: devoted wife (Alycia Delmore), cosy house in the suburbs, plans to start a brood.  That all changes abruptly, however, following the sudden appearance of former college buddy Andrew (Blair Witch Project’s Joshua Leonard), a bohemian artist who travels the world without ties or responsibility. 

One night at a hippie party where both conversation and intoxicants flow freely, an idea is proposed for a genre-bending art project – what if two straight guys videotaped themselves having sex?  It would transcend the boundaries of pornography and preconceptions of  sexual identity, and possibly blow a few minds in the process.  The two ideal candidates, of course, are Ben and Andrew, and in their stoned and drunken state they are both wildly excited, if a little apprehensive, about the potentially groundbreaking nature of the concept.  

Fast forward to the next morning, and after several awkward conversations neither party is keen to be the one to back down.  Ben is tentatively convinced his wife will understand that the idea transcends the boundaries of marital fidelity, and Andrew, hiding behind an air of sang froid worldliness, isn’t quite as confident as he appears either. 

Essentially You, Me & Dupree meets Shortbus, Humpday is a thoughtful, subtly nuanced feature that ultimately combines the best elements of both with plenty of its own unique flair.  Though the dialogue is entirely improvised it never feels forced, and the tension is tempered with plenty of irreverence, lending an air of levity to a concept that could have become mired, as Andrew might say, in its own gravitas. 

Some critics commented that the central premise constituted a kind of backhanded homophobia.  I would strongly dispute this contention; the film isn’t suggesting there’s anything inherently deviant or distasteful about the act of gay sex, simply that, when challenged, our sexual identities aren’t always as fluid a notion as we might think. 

At any rate this is thoughtful indie improv at its finest, and strongly recommended for fans of the ‘mumblecore’ movement or artful independent filmmaking in general.  The local release is also a strong one; in addition to eight deleted scenes and five minutes of BTS footage are two highly entertaining audio commentaries with all the principal cast and creatives, all the more reason to check out this funny, spirited and entertaining offering.   

Audio & Video

Given its fairly modest budget, Humpday has a down to earth, DIY method of execution which entirely suits its subject matter.  The use of intimate shooting angles, static shots, close ups and a maximum of two cameras per scene ensure the viewer successfully engages with the characters from the outset, feeling more a participant than a detached observer.  Though a little dark in places the transfer is mostly strong, and as clear and artefact-free as you’d expect from a feature shot on digital.  The principal audio is in 5.1 surround, and features a tuneful, multifaceted soundtrack from talented sound engineer Vinny Smith. 

Special Features

- Audio Commentary with Director Lynn Shelton, actress Alycia Delmore, Director of Photography Benjamin Kasulke, Sound Engineer Vinny Smith and Production Designer Jasminka Vukcevic

- Audio Commentary with actors Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard

- Deleted Scenes

- Behind the Scenes footage

- Theatrical Trailer

- Madman Trailers  






 
 



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