Monday, December 19, 2011

I Melt With You - Movie Review

I Melt with You is a movie that kind of bummed me out.  I saw the cast and I was pretty enthusiastic about watching it, especially given the premise.  You've got Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe and Christian McKay starring as a bunch of old college buddies that reunite once a year and take a week's vacation to party.  I was thinking it might be a different take on The Hangover.  However, you quickly learn this is a 'serious' film, but not in a good way.

Once again, this review will be spoiler heavy, so be warned.

Even with the serious tone, you'd still kind hope for maybe a thoughtful movie about guys dealing with getting older and getting into middle-age.  Instead, it's just a bunch of dudes drinking and doing tons of drugs.  There's no real setup or anything.  Minutes into the movie this is happening.  I'm not sure I've seen this much cocaine done in a movie since Scarface.  Rob Lowe's character is supposed to be a doctor, and also appears to be their supplier.  I think they tried to first show that they were being careful by having Lowe do periodic checkups on them, but this stopped early on.  At one point, Lowe literally takes a handful of pills and swallows them to show off to some kid.  You don't even know what the pills are.  I'm thinking, 'No effing way!'  You'd be dead in minutes taking that many drugs at once, but anyway.

So on the third or fourth day of this 'vacation', they have a party with a group of younger locals (one of them played by porn star Sasha Grey).  Christian McKay's character, who's apparently gay, but never comes right out and says it, mumbles something about killing the only person he's loved.  He clearly feels guilty about it.  The next day, the remaining guys find him dead in the shower.  He left a suicide note that I guess had some huge meaning to the other guys because they totally freak out about it.  However, they don't tell you what the effing letter says.  You have to infer everything until the very end.  It's clearly a reference to some pact they made when they were younger.  Piven's character says it's all bullshit and he's not going to go through with something they agreed to as dumb kids.  He's got a wife and kids and responsibilities.  He leaves, which is the only smart thing any of these guys did in the movie.  It's pretty sad when Jeremy Piven's character is the voice of reason.  That ought to tell you something.

Before this happens, Piven wants to call the cops to let them know about the suicide, but Lowe and Jane wont' let him.   Instead they bury him out back, which again, is freaking stupid.  Now, when I said Piven was smart for leaving, it was short lived, because he comes back out of some kind of code of honor.  Jane then smothers him with a pillow and they bury him out back as well.

Lowe and Jane then go to a bar and pick a fight with some locals.  For a second I thought this was about to go a crazy direction and get interesting, but instead, they just get their asses kicked by the locals.  Lowe then OD's on heroin and Jane buries him out back.  Jane freaks out by himself for a day or two before finally throwing himself off a cliff (nobody buries him out back).  At the very end the pact is finally revealed.  I guess they all agreed that if they were not the men they envisioned themselves being (but there's no deadline or quantifying of this in any way) or forgot this feeling (not sure what 'this feeling' was), then they would die as one.  What!?  This note is read in a voiceover, and they didn't even synchronize them saying 'we would die as one.'  It felt really sloppy.

One thing to note is that all four of these guys are at a point in their lives where they aren't happy about where they are.  Their careers haven't panned out, or are in come kind of trouble, either career-wise or financially; one of them is going through a nasty divorce, etc.  I can see why these guys would be disappointed about their lives and why some of them might think about taking the easy way out, but it's still uncool.  Two of these guys had families and kids.  Yeah, lets randomly kill myself cause my friend did.  It's so stupid.  Plus, I didn't really like or identify with any of these guys.  As you may have noticed in this review, I haven't bothered to remember any of the characters names.  I just didn't care about them.  I couldn't see myself hanging out with them either.

Then, you have Carla Gugino, whom I normally love, but terribly miscast in this movie as a local cop.  She's overly suspicious of these guys despite that they've only given the outward appearance of being a bunch of guys on vacation and partying.  She's practically staking out the place.  Why?  I guess she didn't have much to do.

The movie itself is endless montages of people doing drugs, hugging, and staring off into the distance.  There are long stretches of either no dialog or dialog muted by music.  It's basically a two hour music video, but with shitty music.  That's what it felt like.  They could have chopped 30-40 minutes off this movie easily and it wouldn't have made any difference in the story.

Oh, and despite that they are having these drug filed ragers every night, by the next morning, the house always seemed surprisingly clean.  I also don't really recall any of them being all that hung over.  They'd just start right back up again with the drinking and partying.

Once again, the screenplay was written by a first time writer, Glenn Porter.  I hesitate to use the word 'screenplay' or 'written', because there's just not much of a story here.  Again, there's about as much content as in a five minute short or music video.  I'm more surprised that this was directed by Mark Pellington, who has directed movies I've actually enjoyed like Arlington Road, The Mothman Prophecies and Henry Poole is Here.  He's a better director than this.

I heard some idiot saying the point was they were creating a new world order.  What?  How is four random people killing themselves privately for reasons unexplained to the outside world creating a new world order?  How is abandoning your kids or family creating a better world?  I guess it would be if you were a horrible husband or father maybe.  Another guy said this is the next Fight Club.  I'm sorry, but did you actually see Fight Club?  Fight Club had a point and the characters had a goal.  This has nothing!

I Melt With You is essentially a bad, extended music video about a bunch of douche bags that take a week to get drunk, do a bunch of coke and other various drugs and then kill themselves.  I get what this movie was trying to do, but it's didn't work.  This is quite honestly one of the worst films I've seen this year.  It's likely going to land in my top ten worst of the year.

I give this half a Death Star.  I'd give it zero Death Stars, but there was one part that made me laugh.

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