Whew: For a film with a mile-wide hole where its engine, its heart -- the desire that propels its two main characters -- should be, HUMPDAY still manages to entertain and fascinate so very well that audiences with a taste for the forbidden and transgressive will probably go along for the ride. Director and co-writer (with her actors) Lynn Shelton (shown at right, below) has pulled together a weird
story with the right cast and crew -- at the correct time in our cultural history -- to make things coalesce nicely around that hole.
As you will soon know, if you don't already, Humpday deals with a pair of straight male friends-since-school-days who decide to have sex with each other -- as a kind of porno/art project. You probably see that hole opening up right now. Why do they choose to do this? The movie provides so many different reasons as it proceeds towards its conclusion that you'll have no want of answers to the question, though not a single one makes enough emotional/gut sense to propel these characters toward follow-through: "I was drunk at the time that I got the idea," "I need to spread my wings and try something different," pure "oneupsmanship," "I want to finally finish something that I start,""Maybe I'll even make some money at it and discover a new career" (these guys are not particularly beefcake types, but then neither is Ron Jeremy). And so on.
Being bi-sexual myself, with a stronger predilection for the male, I must ask my straight comrades: This makes sense to you, right? Don't take a vacation together to Fiji, don't combine your resources and go into some new business, don't even -- since we're talking sex here -- decide to have a threesome with a woman. Nope: gotta be sex with each other. Could one of our "heroes" possibly have homosexual tendencies and be "out there" a bit on the famous Kinsey scale? I'll leave that for you to decide, but I certainly did not find either of them so inclined. And thus, whatever happens between our two friends, given the current level of straight guy-homosexual panic abroad in our society, this hole -- the straight guy's heart of darkness -- remains open and gaping. And the decision to proceed on their quest is simply unbelievable.
Humpday, distributed by Magnolia Pictures, opens this Friday, July 10, in NYC and Seattle (the film was made in the Northwestern United States). Over the following weeks it will roll out in major markets across the country. I was also supposed to publish the Q&A with the filmmaker and her cast, but getting the promised transcription seems to have hit a few speed bumps. Look for it later. I hope.