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Published: 2011-12-08 - 10:15:25
Movies : Reviews

I Melt with You Review

By Joe Lozito

Men of a Hurtin' Age

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In "I Melt With You", four old college buddies reunite for a yearly session of drug-fueled partying. Each man, now 44, brings his own demons to the table and - over the course of their debauchery - each unravels for his own reasons. Rob Lowe plays Jonathan, a doctor (he supplies the drugs) who has long since given up practicing medicine in favor of writing unquestioned prescriptions for wealthy clientele. Thomas Jane is Richard, a washed-up writer, and Jeremy Piven is Ron, a rich stock broker ("you're art, I'm commerce", he tells Richard) who's involved in some kind of shady, ripped-from-the-headlines business dealings. And Christian McKay plays Timmy, their wise gay friend (that in and of itself seems to be enough of a burden for the character).

Together they rent a house on a beautiful ocean-side bluff in Monterey (well, Ron rents it for them) and proceed to indulge in comically absurd amounts of drugs and alcohol. Yes, this isn't your average lost weekend; these guys would make Hunter S. Thompson stop and say, "whoa, guys, slow down". The implication is that their mounting regret (each has failed in different ways to fulfill his potential) has pushed their binging to nearly suicidal levels. The discovery of an old oath, written in the college days, only serves to drive the point home.

To say more would be unfair. The script, by Glenn Porter, is clearly ambitious. It aims to do no less than strip these men down to their weeping innards. But it has the feeling of a firsttime screenwriter (this is Mr. Porter's debut). It is so over-the-top, so wildly overwrought that it borders on camp. The film is really a showcase for its actors, each of which fully commits to the film - and each possibly hoping it will serve as something of a comeback (or at least a redefinition of previous career choices).

Much of the film takes place in that one house and has the feel of an adapted stage play. Director Mark Pellington ("Henry Poole Is Here") keeps things moving by staging a series of visceral drug montages, each set to a pretty solid soundtrack (yes, there's an update of that titular classic by Modern English themselves) and each becoming more and more repetitious.

But when the film reveals its trajectory, after a group of locals show up for a party (including porn star Sasha Grey who, guess what?, gets naked), the film's true intent becomes clear - and so does the length of its running time. The appearance of Carla Gugino as the local - and apparently bored - Sheriff (really!) doesn't help matters.

To Mr. Pellington's credit, the film's drug scenes really do capture the feeling of being wasted, and bring to mind films like "Requiem for a Dream" and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". To the credit of each actor, they do capture their character's despair. But each man is so self-centered, so laughably caught in his own drama (and in some cases, just plain "douchey"), that it's tough to root for them. There's a big "oh my, what are they gonna do now" moment, but by then you might not care.

What did you think?

Movie title I Melt with You
Release year 2011
MPAA Rating R
Our rating
Summary Wildly overwrought portrait of four college buddies reunited for a weekend of drug-fueled debauchery and soul searching. Like a drunken evening, there are some good moments but it's not worth it in the end.
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