Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
France, 2012. Les films du 24, TF1 Droits Audiovisuels, France 2 Cinéma, Films Sous Influence, Sofica UGC 1, Soficinéma 8, Canal+, Ciné+, France Télévision, Région Ile-de-France, Angoa-Agicoa. Screenplay by Yvan Attal, Olivier Lecot. Cinematography by Thomas Hardmeier. Produced by Mikael Abecassis. Production Design by Thierry Francois. Film Editing by Jennifer Auge. Toronto International Film Festival 2012.
French remake of Lynn Shelton’s Humpday, in which Yvan Attal and François Cluzet take over the roles of best friends who get too drunk at a party and agree to make a sex tape together. Attal’s tranquil life of marriage with Laetitia Casta is interrupted when Cluzet, for whom the wild life has not yet stopped, drops in unannounced. Casta is annoyed because she’s trying to get pregnant, while Attal is dazzled by his friend and starts partying with him like they did in the old days. At the home of a bohemian couple (Asia Argento and Attal’s real-life spouse Charlotte Gainsbourg), the conversation veers towards their hosts’ experience attending the Hump Film Festival, where artistic pornography is screened, and they become committed to the idea of taking part. To really get themselves noticed, Argento tells them, they should film a scene of heterosexual men getting it on with each other, an exploration of sexual gray area that would make a powerful statement. The guys agree and enter the event, then realize that they’ve gotten in way over their heads: the project brings problems home for Attal and inspires a lot of anxieties between the two friends, at first about the way it will play with their own identities as virile straight guys but also about their understanding of sexuality and gender norms in general. It also inspires a lot of conversations about their own relationship with each other, particularly when they get down to business in a hotel room, but for some reason none of it resonates. Attal keeps it shallow rather than light, and while the panic over man on man sex is kept reasonable and the film doesn’t indulge in any kind of homophobia, there is a boring insistence on the characters’ normality being interrupted that doesn’t feel like it’s worth investigating. There are fun moments, though, singing Dalida in a prison cell or Gainsbourg sporting a bright strap-on dildo, but don’t expect to think about it too much after it’s over.