I can't hold my tongue any longer. Humpday is no more a bromance than writer/director Lynn Shelton is "the female Apatow." The term bromance is lazy shorthand for the loveably dorky and confused guys populating the Apatow et al movies, and while Ben (Mark Duplass) and Andrew (Joshua Leonard) could be described as such, the writing of Shelton elevates what could be a one-trick pony -- two straight dudes might have sex or might not for "art" -- into a real discussion of identity, both of Ben and Andrew and of those around them. It becomes a discussion of sexuality -- what's straight, what's not, what threatens Andrew and what interests and confuses Ben -- and identity and how we want to perceive ourselves.

In an Apatow-ish film, if a protagonist was about to have a threesome with two women (one of which is played by Shelton) and suddenly gets cold feet when one pulls out sex toys, it would be played for laughs -- add in a fart joke or dildo joke and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Whew, wouldn't that have been crazy! Instead, there's a supremely awkward and human moment when Andrew weighs the pros and cons of the situation, extricates himself, puts on his clothes, and leaves. The women turn to each other laughing, shutting him out from their intimacy as much as he's shut himself off by flitting across the world as an artist.

categories Cinematical