Ben and Anna (Duplass and Demore) are a happy couple trying to get pregnant when Ben's globe-hopping university buddy Andrew (Leonard) turns up for a visit. The two guys go to a raucous dinner party where they drunkenly decide to make a porn film for an upcoming festival. The hitch is that they will star in it as straight best friends having sex in the name of art. The next morning they begin to realise how stupid this is, but neither of them is willing to back down. And then Anna finds out.
Within this ridiculous premise, there's a ring of truth that keeps us watching.
Filmmaker Shelton is provocatively exploring cultural barriers, and she pushes her cast to engage in some strikingly honest (and nervous) dialog. The film is essentially a series of conversations between these central three characters, with only two side roles for the filmmaker and Willard as a couple who tests another male limitation.
Perfectly cast as average Joes, Duplass and Leonard are natural as two guys awkwardly avoiding the elephant in the room and then making sure that, when they talk about it, they remain as ludicrously macho as they can be. And both have terrific scenes with Delmore too. All of the dialog is both hilarious and squirm-inducing. In some ways, this is more a razor-sharp look at interpersonal communication than an examination of masculinity.
And it's very funny to watch these guys' egos kick in. Neither wants to be the one who chickens out, so they waffle on about creating art that pushes boundaries while ignoring their own mid-30s crises. Along the way, the film knowingly explores how relationships require outside interests to survive, and how a truly loving partner is willing to talk and listen without judgement. And by the time we get to the fateful night, both men realise that they might be confronting the thing that scares them more than anything else. Which is a shocking revelation if you think about it.
Run time: 94 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 16th September 2009
Box Office USA: $0.3M
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 105 Rotten: 27
IMDB: 6.1 / 10
Director: Lynn Shelton
Producer: Lynn Shelton
Screenwriter: Lynn Shelton
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