In 'I Melt with You,' a quartet of 44-year-old men who were friends in college reunite for their annual weekend of debauchery and hedonism. Sounds fun, right? Not this time! This time, one of the four is being a real Debbie Downer, reminding everyone of how they've failed to live up to any of their youthful ideals, and how they're all terrible human beings. They start to wonder if life is even worth living. Having sat the ludicrous tedium of 'I Melt with You,' I know how they feel.
Seldom has a film that longed to be so insightful wound up being so superficial. Directed by Mark Pellington ('The Mothman Prophecies,' 'Henry Poole Is Here') and written by Glenn Porter from a story the two conceived together, 'I Melt with You' attempts to turn a 'Big Chill' scenario into a dark, thrilling character study, yet fails on almost every level. It seems to think it's the first movie ever made in which middle-aged characters reflect on how they've changed since college, as if this is some awe-inspiring revelation. Then, when the story telegraphs what's eventually going to happen, we're stuck waiting for it to get around to it.
Unhelpful is the fact that all four central characters are loathsome bastards. Jonathan (Rob Lowe) is a skeevy doctor who sells prescriptions to recreational users. Ron (Jeremy Piven) is a thieving financier. Richard (Thomas Jane) is a teacher who's resentful at not being a successful novelist. Tim (Christian McKay) is Señor Buzzkill, mourning a tragic loss from five years ago and forcing the others to remember the things they swore they'd do when they were 19.