Saturday, November 07, 2009


Are You Ready For This?

Awarded the Sundance Special Jury Prize, the premise is pretty much hilariously insane, though I'm not sure if there will really be straight guys out there who will decide to go do it with their male best friends, perhaps only in a state of drunken stupor with false bravado in not wanting to lose face? Which is exactly how this film portrayed its lead protagonists in their attempt to justify their once-in-a-lifetime project pact using a film festival as an end to justify their means.

Ben (Mark Duplass) and Anna (Alycia Demore) are a happily married couple who are quite fixed in the formula of how life should be like, and are perhaps living it up quite blissfully until Ben's best friend Andrew (Joshua Leonard) comes gatecrashing into their peaceful lives in the wee hours of one fine early morning, and hence becomes the perfect fodder for some shenanigans to follow, being the disruptive force that he is. You know how it is when a stranger to the wife comes knocking on the door, and the couple's dynamics shift instantly because on false good graces she has to become the gracious host in putting up with someone's innate ability to steal away the husband's time. Think You, Me and Dupree.

In a drunken, doped state at a spaced out party one day which Anna of course decided to pass on, Ben and Andrew declare that they will be submitting their own "art" film to a film festival, the hump festival, but since it's no kick to submit just another porn film, they decide that their straight orientation going all out for each other, would be the draw to win top prize. You know how it is when best friends dare each other, and eventually it's taken for real because nobody wants to lose face, or be perceived as chicken. They deem that their brotherly love would transcend the icky-ness that comes with the thought, and in order to strike while the iron is hot and to prove their respective sincerity, they will film themselves having sex in a few day's time.

Which of course Ben's marital status proves to be the ultimate stumbling block, because he has account for his actions to Anna. Writer-director Lynn Shelton seemed to have followed a popular formula that has a narrative film look like a documentary with its shaky cam and what felt like ad-libbed, unscripted dialogue that the last film I remembered which did something like that, was Rachel Getting Married. The gem here is how Shelton got the small cast to interact with each other which was vividly real rather than something which was rehearsed to death, and crafted characters which are fleshed out wonderfully by the small cast, in which the director herself starred in too as a bisexual.

Whatever the premise is, we can easily identify with how far we would let a dare go and how often we do so in order not to lose face. The trick is of course knowing when to back down and to do so without being perceived as chicken. These human condition issues and situations get totally played out in perfect manner with Humpday.

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