Toxic male self-pity now has its Citizen Kane, so bandage up your wounded paw and pad down to the theater for a good roar while the rest of us grow up already. An excruciatingly awkward stab at generational sympathy, I Melt with You presents a quartet of thickening college buddies gathering at a Big Sur rental house to mourn their lost ambition. Each 44-year-old has his own special stink of unlikability: author-turned-teacher Richard (Jane), maritally abandoned quack Jonathan (Lowe), smug equities trader Ron (Piven) and softheaded drifter Tim (McKay). They blare their Sex Pistols---a tiresome shorthand---and snort a Goodfellas worth of illicit stimulants, anything to stave off the crash and teary monologues to come.
After the halfway mark, it's too much, with director Mark Pellington displaying little intent to criticize. (Some lissome younger guests at the party fire off a few zingers.) Stupefyingly, the plot then finds the one avenue that could make it more ridiculous: An untimely death raises the specter of a decades-old suicide pledge, and the movie lurches wildly into a murder mystery, with unpersuasive cop Carla Gugino showing up on the beach too frequently. Pellington (Arlington Road) is actually stronger as a suspense builder, but his material, from a pretentious original script by Glen Porter, has long ago betrayed any sense of sobriety.
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