Rating: 2.5 stars. (out of a possible 5)


Nick Shrager @ Slant Magazine

What is always most difficult about the review process is differentiating between what might be considered an ‘objective’, or perhaps more aptly stated ‘ideal’ (in the essentialism sense)  notion of what a good movie is, and what your personal taste dictates to you is good, or not. I can watch a movie and realise that certain standards are not being met, be they cinematography, narrative, mis en scene, etc, which there are basics you expect from Hollywood movies, as a minimum. They have the budgets, the resources, if you can’t find an editor or writer to suit your piece, you lose points, simple as that.

‘I Melt With You’ has all that you expect from a Hollywood piece, pretty actors, beautiful imagery, a great soundtrack (which several critics have noted is one of the only good aspects of the film, see above). The first half of the film, is primal in its expression; old friends catching up, copious amounts of drugs and alcohol are ingested with carefree abandon, or rather, the way it’s film is raw, gritty, with swaying camera angles and altered colour palettes. For anyone who has lived a life of indulgence this can quite easily take you upward in that tide of expression (and that of seeing the wonderful Sasha Grey, who worked with Jeremy Piven in “Entourage“). I certainly was.  The movie has been criticised for this drawn out malaise, coupled with one of the characters ‘Tim’ (played by Christian Mckay) providing juxtaposition by waxing psuedophilosophical barbs, as shallow and repetitive. And one could be left to wonder what the point of such  a long and drawn out section of this movie is meant to tell us about ourselves and about life. The men are all married, getting away from their troubles (which we see as the movie unfolds they all possess), perhaps it is to show us the consequence of our choices, of the value of friends, or it could simply be some parochial sense experience for the viewer, it’s hard to say as it’s not well conveyed, and some might say, we might not care either.

This is where what I was saying earlier holds significance, I was personally moved by the partying, drug taking scenes, that’s just me, but if you aren’t moved by them, then the first hour of this movie will be tedious.

But whatever your thoughts of the first half, the second half takes an interesting tone, the movie shifts from unadulterated, positivity to morose darkness with the second half of the movie seeming like a dark reflection of the first.  I won’t go into spoilers here, but one is left at first moved by the events of the second half, but then as the events continue, we are left to feel like perhaps we are being made fun of. Characters that drew me in, became two-dimensional and congruent with a reality I could relate to. I felt like the director was going for the moody significance of his quite excellent “Arlington Road” but without such lofty, topical and well-directed material to deal with, we end up feeling left with a punch line to a question we never asked. Any deeper meaning or sub-text to the movie lost and entangled in Carla Gugino’s “Officer Boyde”, who, as has been stated in some reviews, feels like she’s in another movie, about a cop drama.

I ultimately ended up waiting for this over 2 hour epic to end, as it had entered a level of silliness that bored me, I was sticking out if only to see what happens, in some perverse way.