'I Melt With You' Shows Men as the Ultimate Worst Caricatures of Themselves

If you were ever curious as to what The Hangover would look like without an ounce of comedy applied, look no further than I Melt With You.

I Melt With You

Director: Mark Pellington
Cast: Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven, Christian McKay
Distributor: Magnolia
Release date: 2012-02-28

If you were ever curious as to what The Hangover would look like without an ounce of comedy applied, look no further than the most ludicrous release of 2012, I Melt With You. The title makes about as much sense as the film itself, which is advertised as a buddying thriller, but fails to capture the thriller genre, or any thrills at all. The dizzying camera work by cinematographer Eric Schmidt makes you wish you were drunk as the story follows four men that get together every year for a week in ring leader Richard’s (Hung’s Thomas Jane) home for drugs and other sordid illicit behavior.

Before the commiserating begins, you see a nice set up of the characters lives and how unfulfilled they are in every aspect. Richard is a writer that threw his dreams to the side to go into a more practical field as an English teacher. Jonathan (producer Rob Lowe) is a doctor and instead of saving lives he pushes pills to beautiful rich clients. Ron (Jeremy Piven) is a corrupt corporate greed money monger, who you find out is being investigated by the feds, and Tim (Christian McKay), possibly the most insightful man of the bunch (which isn’t saying much), is a sullen man who’s grieving for his dead boyfriend who died in an automobile accident. These set ups leave you to believe that there’s character development to come, but instead, the audience receives the inner workings of hazy glam rock fueled soundtrack with enough shaky handycam work it might make you want to vomit after 45 minutes into the viewing.

The first couple of scenes are bearable because you think that in the midst of their lewd talk about impotence, hot daughter’s friends, and getting high, that there will be some sort of switch that changes the whole tone of the movie, or a reveal in the characters motives to get high. The film boasts that it’s a film about four regular guys, but instead what your treated to is a voyeuristic look into the obnoxious college roommate you were always desperately trying to escape during finals week. In fact, nothing consequential happens for these partying, orgy loving guys until Tim decides to hang himself, and after trying to peg down each friend to have a serious conversation about the future and the lack of direction their lives are going in, to find one friend is as deluded and self indulgent than the next, who can really blame him for wanting to get out of this film as soon as possible?

That’s where the film introduces the spiral of each remaining character, as they become a pile of tear soaked men, crying and snorting their way through the rest of the film. For reasons unknown they decide to get rid of the body, and as soon as that happens the only pattern that seems to be evident in the film is the fact that random things will happen for no apparent reason whatsoever. After Tim’s death the characters start to call each others behaviors out, and conversation of a 25 year old pact and promises to stick together come about, which opens up one interesting scene and a reveal of what the characters are really thinking about each other. Ron calls Richard a fraud and asks where his best selling novels are, Richard freaks out at Ron and tells him to leave, the characters are still disillusioned and continue to get high and the ride continues on this loop.

Eventually Ron comes back to the house once he finds out that the feds are at his home looking for him, and delivers a tearful speech to Richard about his legal troubles, which gives Richard the impression that Ron needs to be put out of his misery and smothers him with a pillow. Although the film never shows a conversation between Jonathan and Richard, Jonathan seems to know about the second buried body down by the beach when a random cop becomes curious about the fellas and their partying, again, for no justifiable reason other than she has a badge on her chest and acts as the enforcer. The pact is brought up again, but the audience is never quite sure if it’s a love letter that’s dripped in the foursome’s blood or just a laundry list of quests they need to accomplish before they hit 44.

Jonathan, who is probably the most aware of his problems besides Tim, decides to call his ex wife for a second time, but instead gets his estranged child on the phone, and makes him promise to remember that he’s his real father before he intentionally injects himself with enough drugs to end his life, with one peaceful memory of a day where his family was happy on the beach. Richard buries the body just in time to snort some more drugs before the nosy cop comes back around. By now all Richard can ramble about is the pact, which results in him turning the glass windows of the house into some schizophrenic induced finger painting session with hokey “old school-ish" quotes like “Twenty-five years from now if we can’t remember this, then we have forgotten this beautiful moment,” along with other quotes that are equally unoriginal.

As no surprise to the viewer, you can see how the end comes as Richard involves himself in a car chase with the cop and ends up killing himself when he’s ultimately cornered. The letter that he leaves behind contains the mysterious 25 year pact, that makes as much sense as the movie, but really, with the course of this six day vacation, and the hour and 25 minutes of wasted time, you can’t really expect a pay off when there wasn’t much to work with to begin with. The DVD features interviews with Piven, a commentary with Piven, Lowe and the director, but no amount of extra footage can fill the holes or bring some kind of enlightenment to this disaster of a film.


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