I Melt with You

26 Dec

Title: I Melt with You
Year: 2011
Director: Mark Pellington
Writer: Glenn Porter
Starring: Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Christian McKay, Carla Gugino, Arielle Kebbel, Sasha Grey
MPAA Rating: R, pervasive drug use and language, some violence and sexual content
Runtime: 129 min
IMDb Rating: 5.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 15%
Metacritic: 26


Christian McKay plays Tim in Mark Pellington’s I Melt with You, and Tim is part of a quartet of old college buddies who gather around once a year in Big Sur to celebrate his birthday and generally catch up on life. The other three men are Jonathan, Richard and Ron, played by Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane and Jeremy Piven, respectively. Those three are all actors I actually like, Mr. Piven and Mr. Jane were the best parts about two recently cancelled HBO shows, Entourage and Hung, and Mr. Lowe is part of the funniest ensemble in television over at NBC’s Park and Recreation. So I thought, yeah, I could make do for a two-hour-plus movie featuring these guys hanging out. Because that’s what I thought it would be at first; these guys are in their forties, they have families, responsibilities. But then it all takes a really dark turn and they start doing drugs in parties with women half their ages and the film gets really grim, with the guys bearing their souls to one another and a promise from way back when coming to light alter things even further.

The result is actually pretty damn horrible. You have four grown-ass men doing drugs and crying for over two hours. And that’s every bit as bad as it sounds, it was kind of painful to watch at times, four successful middle-aged white men getting together for a weekend of drugs is stupid, and that it comes off as an exercise in creating characters who are douchebags being just that is no surprise. I really don’t get what Mr. Pellington and screenwriter Glenn Porter and the members of their cast were trying to say with this film, I guess they maybe wanted to make some sort of statement about modern masculinity, I don’t know, but it ends up being just four white guys, wallowing in self-pity, realizing just how much they haven’t accomplished in life. That’s all stuff we’ve seen before, if you add a whole lot of debauchery and the 25th anniversary of a friendship pact made while in college, you get I Melt with You, and it’s really bad.

Every little thing about this film is just so obviously lacking in any kind of originality that it becomes painfully stupid. The opening montage of different afflictions that supposedly bother grown men of their age, the cringe-worthy dialogue that’s made out to seem super deep but that comes off like stuff any regular douchebag would say, ugh, don’t get me started. These guys are fucked up; I mean when you first look at Thomas Jane you see an English teacher but he’s just a womanizing douchebag who was a novelist; Jeremy Piven at first is a stock trader but then you find out he’s a douchebag that’s under investigation at his job; Rob Lowe is a doctor, but he’s also a douchebag of a doctor that deals drugs on the side; a Tim is British who we don’t get much info on because he’s a douchebag still being haunted by the guilt of a mistake he made in his past. Like I said, these are all douchebags.

Nothing is good about this film, they do cocaine, and threesomes and hallucinogens for no other reason than to be even more fucked up examples of masculinity and to make the pain go away. But it just sucks, and it goes even more downhill when Tim makes his exit, the British leaving the three American dogs on their own, and then the remaining guys are struck by an even deeper sense of self-pity and the whole movie goes awfully wrong. The only reason I’m not failing this film is because a small part of me actually got the tiniest of kicks from watching the manwhore Ray Drecker go through a really intense party that would’ve killed most, or watching Ari Gold cry like baby, or watching Chris Traeger feel sorry about himself. Chris Traeger, people, feeling sorry about himself! It’s those little, unintentional visuals that I Melt with You gives you that make it at least a little bit bearable.

Another good thing about I Melt with You is the soundtrack. There’s The Clash, and Pixies and U2, all good bands, all good songs, so at least you’ll hear some good tunes as you follow these four down the horrible rabbit hole they go through. That comes from the fact that Mr. Pellington has actually directed some great music videos, like Pearl Jam’s ‘Jeremy’ or The Flaming Lips’ ‘Do You Realize??’ as well as directed the 3D U2 concert film. And maybe the fact that he’s the director also explains why at times the film feels kind of like a music video for a hard rock band that wants quick images of people getting fucked up. I don’t know. And that’s another problem I had with this film, I just didn’t know why any of this went down, you don’t get any sense of purpose or meaning from these guys. Which is just as well because by the time you’re done with this film it’ll mean nothing to you, either.

Grade: C-


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