Having opted to say nothing about 13 Assassins which can be viewed equally well with the sound off or on—so long as the captions have also been muted, and Bridesmaids (which might be fun for some of the girls and not a few boys, making me want to scream “Why doesn’t Kristen Wiig’s character wash her hair more frequently?”) I was completely disappointed with I Melt With You.
First-time writer (screenplay and cheques: he—along with what might be a new category for the Guinness Book of Records—is also listed as one of nine executive producers) Glenn Porter manages to far surpass the artistic trust of The Descendants. Where it was hard to work up much sympathy for George Clooney’s character in the Hawaii saga, the quartet (Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, lately-absent from the silver screen Rob Lowe and Christian McKay) of fortysomethings assembled here will make many viewers cheer every defeat in their miserable existence. Drugs, booze and failed ambition combine in a Tsunami of shallow confessions, cowardly acts and deadly plot points both figurative and literal.
Director Mark Pellington most assuredly aided and abetted by a seismic soundtrack (Tom Hadju and Andy Millborn penned the original charts) that, mercifully, overwhelms some of the lines (Cody Wood’s violin being one highlight) and a riot of camera styles and angles from Eric Schmidt lets this party rock and roll at will, almost daring people to like the result. (Still, those as high as the characters might find this self-indulgent flick a veritable auteur masterpiece.)
Just when things couldn’t get worse (the annual reunion goes decidedly wrong when one of their number looks himself in the mirror and opts to reflect no more), the secondary story line has the local sheriff (Carla Gugino) hot on the trail of a missing person only to fail to bring backup when the scanty evidence points long and hard at something rotten in this state of despair.
The actors do their best with what’s been thrown at them—such a waste of so much talent—but by journey’s end the film collapses on itself and there’s no pity left except for those who sit through to the end. JWR