Humpday Lynn Shelton
Published Jul 23, 2009Two hip pals of the straight persuasion are convinced by a Dionysian group of lesbians to have sex with each other on film in the interest of erotic art. While this may sound like the logical sequel to Chuck and Larry, this isn't popcorn comedy for the masses; it's mumblecore.
This particular core includes films like Funny Haha from Harvard's Andrew Bujalski, The Puffy Chair from the Duplass brothers (Mark, a dead ringer for Jon Kraszinski, stars in this one) and a small collection of regulars who appear in each other's films. The movement, which has another annoying name — "Generation DIY" — evokes the emotional realism of Cassavetes through the ennui of today's artist class 20somethings, usually on handheld cameras.
When world travelling, Kerouac-quoting Ben (Joshua Leonard) barges in on his married college pal, they renew an intense fraternal affection. They share, embrace and dwell in the general solipsism of their generation. The small cast's organic comedic improvisations play out in games of pickup basketball and loosely scripted binge drinking sessions. These set off a more intimate examination of sexual tension in male friendship that's considerably more sensitive than the homophobic clumsiness of Chasing Amy, for example.
Thanks to the concise plot and overt tensions in the movie (both are often lacking in the genre) this may be the funniest mumble yet. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, director Lynn Shelton's first foray into commercial filmmaking has generated so much buzz because it combines the minimalist sensibilities of Bujalski, et al. with a sexed-up plot that's easy to market. (Maple)