It was impossible for me to watch Humpday without thinking of the two leads as Brain Chomper and Butcher. Humpday, a small independent film, is the story of two friends that get to drinking one night and challenge themselves to make an art porn movie starring just the two of them.
What makes it the porn art in their eyes is that both characters are straight. Ben, or Butcher as I reference him, and Andrew (Chomper) get reunited when Andrew comes back into town after traveling to parts unknown. Butcher, I mean, Ben, is happily married to Anna, and they welcome Andrew to their home while he gets himself settled back in their hometown of Seattle.
While out with Andrew and his friends one night, Ben gets engaged in a conversation regarding a porn art project called Hump Fest where amateurs submit pornographic movies that are shown to a large audience and then destroyed. When Andrew comes up with the idea of having two straight guys have sex together, Ben willingly and intoxicated offers his participation.
Enter next day. There is the uncomfortable conversation between Andrew and Ben regarding what they both rambled about last night in their individual stupors.
But then it leads to some interesting discussion. Ben believes that if he doesnít follow through with it, he is showing that his wife has control over what he can or cannot do and that he has become and middle class white-picket-fencer. Andrew comes to believe that he has to do this for art and to continue to prove that he is a free spirit.
Most of Humpday then has these two characters dealing with their promise to each other and the preparations leading up to the big day. Ben has the harder task of the two. He must tell and convince his wife that this is Ďartí and he has to do this for reasons that are too complicated to explain. All this goes to pot when Andrew and Anna are drinking one night and Andrew accidentally reveals their plans prior to Ben having the open discussion with his spouse.
This leads to tension and discomfort all wrapped up in a bromance that you canít tell where it is going right up to the point the two turn on the video camera while in a rented hotel room.
Written and directed by Lynn Shelton, Humpday is surprisingly smart and deals with the tough subject matter in a realistic and even sympathetic approach. I wonít give up the ending. Whether these two go through with their plans or to what extent is all part of the experience and I will leave that to those of you daring enough to take a chance on an awkward story and film that has already won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
What I will elaborate on is the simplicity to which the subject is handled and the realism behind the decisions and impacts to friendship that are explored throughout the viewing. Ben and Andrew are portrayed as accurately as well, Brain Chomper and Butcher and these Ďrealí people give life to a film that could end up being a bad Saturday Night Live sketch if not treated with respect and dignity.
Humpday is in no way for everyone. Nothing blows up and the humor is masked in the ick-factor of the premise. But itís still a good movie. A small, quiet, independent movie that doesnít quite push the boundaries that you might think. Instead, it just pushes the margins out a bit to make room for a good story.
And Brain Chomper and Butcher have never been better together.