Grown men behaving badly are everywhere on film, but a more stomach-turning band of incompetent losers has never been assembled than the scumbags in the stupidly titled I Melt With You. Four obnoxious human brussels sprouts get together annually for a week of debauchery and self-destruction in a rented beach house in California’s majestic Big Sur.Richard (Thomas Jane, from the TV series Hung), the alpha-male group leader, is a failed novelist who teaches high school English to make ends meet. Jonathan (Rob Lowe, who also ill-advisedly produced this nasty waste of time) is an addicted doctor in the middle of an ugly divorce who prescribes illegal drugs for rich female patients and brings along a bagful of uppers, downers and pills for every mood to keep his buddies stoned. Ron (Jeremy Piven) is a money marketer under investigation by the authorities. Tim (Christian McKay) is the birthday boy who turns out to be gay and terminally depressed over the death of his boyfriend in an automobile crash. Fortified by hard liquor, blaring acid rock and an endless supply of cocaine, these lost and rudderless guy pals talk about the wives they’ve cheated on, the children they’ve ignored, losing their hair, impotence and erectile dysfunction, their fear of aging, and their genitals. They all share commitment problems, to everybody except each other. As their days diminish in a blur of swimming naked in 60-degree waves, brutal hangovers and an orgy, they wreck a convertible at top speed while paralyzed on dope and reveal the secrets that pushed them down the rabbit hole of no return. The writer trashed his talent, the doctor settled for pushing drugs instead of saving lives, the Wall Street jerk immersed himself in money-making schemes and false values and the gay guy … well, he’s the smartest one of all. On the fourth day, they find him hanging from the bathroom ceiling and you wonder what took him so long. The rest of this interminable yawn turns into a half-baked thriller as the three survivors get rid of Tim’s body (for no reason) and a pretty cop (a miscast Carla Gugino) gets suspicious and hangs around the cliff house (also for no reason). You know they will all pay for their sins in sad and terrible ways, but you can hardly wait for it to end.
Erupting with midlife-crisis clichés, Glenn Porter’s screenplay is ludicrous enough to get laughs in all the wrong places, while Mark Pellington’s stale, predictable and adolescent direction strands a fine cast in midstream without a row boat. Don’t even think of wasting your time and money on this dreck, especially if you suffer from vertigo. As the actors weave and stagger about from room to room, with walls spinning and rap music endangering the eardrums, the hand-held cameras drive the viewer to nausea. The cacophony is by the Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, Dead Kennedys and worse. Don’t these aging boy toys ever grow up? Not in terms of musical taste, to be sure. I Melt With You is a disastrous catalog of flaws, all accentuated by dilated, out-of-focus cinematography. The coke-snorting, booze-guzzling and vomiting add up to nearly two hours of frustration, anesthesia and pointless, self-indulgent excess. They should have called it I Vomit With You. There’s plenty of that too.
I MELT WITH YOU
Running Time 125 minutes
Written by Glenn Porter
Directed by Mark Pellington
Starring Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe and Jeremy Piven