BOYS WILL BE BOYS, PART DUEX – REVIEW OF HUMPDAY


Humpday is about two straight men who decide to have sex on film as an art piece with the plan of entering it in a film festival called Humpfest. Actually, from my perspective, it’s about a writer and director, Lynn Shelton, who thinks she is doing something daring and unique, when, as in the movie The Art of Being Straight, she is hopelessly behind the times. The comic high point of the story, unintentionally so, is a party that the two breeders, played by Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard, attend. Duplass calls the party Dionysian, but the party is only Dionysian to people who think the orgy scene in La Dolce Vita is a realistic orgy. Of course, that may be the point here, but Shelton doesn’t let the audience know whether she actually believes the party is Dionysian or whether we are suppose to laugh at Duplass because he actually thinks it is. This is actually topped when Leonard suggests that for Humpfest he and Duplass do something unique—film two straight men having sex. Now this is only unique to people who have no idea what’s been going on in the world of pornography in the last ten years or more where “gay for pay” has been one of the most popular and fastest growing subsidiaries (this Dionysian party actually has a couple of gay men there, yet none of them decided to point out the absurdity of Leonard’s statement). In the end, the two men can’t go through with it (thankfully; if I’m going to see two straight men having sex, it sure ain’t going to be two men with mediocre bodies like this). So what is the point of the film? What did these two people learn about themselves? It’s not clear, at least to me, that Shelton really thought that through. It’s as if she thought all she had to do was come up with a high concept mumble core film and the rest would fall into place, but I question whether it did. I still remember the wonderful morning after scene in Y Tu Mama Tambien in which the two male characters, after having a three way the night before in which they kissed, wake up in horror realizing that terrifying fact that two straight men can actually enjoy having sex together; the result was that they never wanted to see each other again. I’m not convinced that anything like that happens here.
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