This indie film, which didn’t come to Raleigh or the Triangle area in its limited theatrical run, releases today on Blu ray and DVD:
“I Melt With You” (Dir. Mark Pellington, 2010)
They should’ve called this film “Beach House Suicide Pact.”
It’s like an episode of Men of a Certain Age gone way dark: a group of longtime friends vacation together at a Big Sur beach house, and they party their miserable asses off until they start offing themselves.
Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane (HBO’s Hung), and Christian McCay (“Me and Orson Welles”) play the 40something-aged friends who didn’t originally plan on such self destruction, it just turns out that way because of a suicide pact written on a piece of notebook paper that they each signed 25 years ago.
Aided by tons of booze, blow, and pharmaceutical drugs (all they’re missing is a hot tub time machine), the guys live it up in the noisy first half of the film.
As the fellows get wasted, blaring the music of their youth (mostly ‘80s punk pop), we slowly learn how downhill each of their lives has gotten. Piven is a corrupt business man about to be busted by the SEC for stealing from his clients, Jane is a high school English teacher who never followed up his first novel, Lowe is an unhappy divorced physician, and McKay is wracked with guilt over causing an automobile accident that killed his sister.
Sounds like a fun bunch of guys, huh? Some local college students seem to think so as they join the guys for a party at the house with plenty of pill popping, snorting, toking, and drinking, oh, and groping. Porn star/wooden actress Sasha Grey shows up for a brief instance for no reason.
The morning after the party, McKay hangs himself with his belt, and the guys start freaking out. I kept expecting Piven to call it a 200-pound problem that needs to be moved from point A to point B, much like his character in “Very Bad Things.”
They don’t call the police – they bury McKay in the backyard, and things go from bad to worse, in every sense. A policewoman (Carla Gugino) starts snooping around the premises, apparently suspicious of the guys from the start, and the implausibility factor increases.
What we have here is 4 appealing actors playing 4 unappealing angsty a**holes. They pissed my wife off so much that she stopped watching it after the first 10 minutes. I stayed with it, but it was such a tiresome depressing slog that I think she made the right decision.
After the infinite playlist of the party half of the film dies down, the film is just as loud because of an annoying score that pounds every ominous moment into your head with no mercy.
In one of the only affecting moments in the film, Lowe puts in some excellent acting in a scene in which as he’s dying he phones his ex-wife and talks to his toddler son.
Otherwise “I Melt With You” is full of depthless close-ups of these actors in despair, and show-off photography of their admittedly awesome surroundings – the cliffs, the landscape, and the beaches of Big Sur shot by cinematographer Eric Schmidt. At over 2 hours it’s way too long as well.
I’m the same age as these guys, but I don’t relate to them at all. Their back stories aren’t fleshed out enough for me to put any investment into them. They are all selfish jerks who never got over their college days of getting wasted constantly. The tragedy here isn’t their senseless suicides, it’s that this is a fail of a film about 4 failures.
Special Features: 2 commentaries, Director’s Statement, Deleted Scenes, a few featurettes, Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery, Alternate Theatrical Poster Gallery, Theatrical Redband, Greenband, and International trailers. Whew! That’s a lot of extras.
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