‘I Melt With You’: When these Gen-X bores gather, run away

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, December 15, 2011 8:19am
  • LifeGo-See-Do

“The Big Chill” this is not: Four friends meet for their annual reunion, a debauched blowout fueled by booze and drugs and far too many man-hugs.

This year, however, the guys are 44 years old, and the weight of disappointment and compromise is heavy. Enter, if you dare, the self-important world of “I Melt With You,” a last tango scored for quartet.

Like a Gen-X take on the drunken blowhards from John Cassavetes’ “Husbands,” the movie seems to find these four bad boys more intriguing than they really are, or so it seemed to my sober eyes.

You can see the appeal for actors: The guys reel through days of misbehavior, with plenty of drunk scenes and soul-searching. The most desperately boisterous of the group is Richard (Thomas Jane), a once-promising writer now teaching English and staying commitment-free.

He mocks the securely married Ron (Jeremy Piven), but Ron’s got his own secret problems, and Jonathan (Rob Lowe) is a doctor who’s been selling pills and also taking them. The other friend, Tim (Christian McKay, who played Orson Welles in “Me and Orson Welles”) lost his longtime partner five years earlier and is still mired in grief.

Except for their rampant abuse of many different substances, these dudes have little in common. We take it on faith that they’ve been friends since college, and that their week in a rented home in Big Sur is a safety valve for their unhappy lives.

These actors are capable enough of communicating their angst, but the camaraderie is less credible. Director Mark Pellington (“The Mothman Prophecies”) and screenwriter Glenn Porter might very well have obnoxious pals like this, but all the joshing and crying and masculine embracing (did I mention the man-hugs?) feels like an idea of what old friends must be like, rather than recognizable behavior.

To give the stamp of supposed authenticity to the decadence, the cast includes porn star Sasha Grey, who hasn’t improved much since her “legit” debut in “The Girlfriend Experience.”

Carla Gugino is utterly wasted as a local law-enforcement official, a role as dull as that description sounds.

Accompanying the descent into purgatory is a soundtrack of ’80s (but also ’70s) songs. Tracks by the Sex Pistols and The Clash are on the nose, although the four friends would have been more like children than college students when those songs were released.

A clip of John Lydon (aka the Pistols’ Johnny Rotten), included without explanation, caps this pretentious wallow.

“I Melt With You” (1 star)

Four old college friends, now 44 and disappointed in their lives, meet for their annual blowout of booze and pills. Actors such as Thomas Jane and Jeremy Piven are capable of bringing the angst, but the camaraderie feels forced and the approach pretentious.

Rated: R, for language, nudity, subject matter

Showing: Varsity

Talk to us

More in Life

Ash was rescued along with Dexter, just before his euthanasia date. (Luisa Loi / Whidbey News-Times)
Whidbey Island woman rescues 300 German shepherds

“Can I save them all? No,” Renee Carr, of Oak Harbor said. “But I’m gonna try my hardest.”

The 2023 Infiniti QX80 has standard rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive available on all models. (Infiniti)
2023 Infiniti QX80 is powerful and posh

A mighty V8 engine does the work while a luxurious interior provides the pleasure.

Artist Michelle Downes prepares to work on a few canvases in her garage workspace on Thursday, July 6, 2023, at her family’s home in Stanwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Stanwood artist Michelle Downes creates layered dreamscapes in resin

Resin is one part chemistry and one part artistry. Downes combines the two to make art that captures the imagination.

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Dark gray wheels and black exterior accents provide extra visual appeal for the 2024 Subaru Impreza’s RS trim. (Subaru)
2024 Subaru Impreza loses a little, gains a lot

The brand’s compact car is fully redesigned. A couple of things are gone, but many more have arrived.

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Most Read