When we label a film a “guy movie” that’s traditionally because there’s a lot of debauchery, alcohol, and naked women involved in some sort of plot where a few guys come to terms with growing older and having to accept more responsibility in life. You’ve seen that formula play out in The Hangover, Wedding Crashers, Old School, Three Men and a Baby, Knocked Up, Van Wilder, The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, etc. The list goes on, because the genre has proven to be remarkably popular. Though that message of maturing permeates the wild antics of all these films, it’s usually quite thin in most of them, lest it overpower the comedy (aka what people are paying to see). I Melt With You flips that paradigm on its head; it still has plenty of raunchy guy moments, whether it’s physical or spoken, but the mood is far more mellow and controlled instead of the off the walls insanity the genre has become known for. That would be a good thing if there was a stronger script at its center, but as is all it can boast is a great cast of Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, and Christian McKay.
Four guys in different stages of life meet up for their annual get together at one of their luxurious summer homes, and proceed to unwind and let loose with the joys and frustrations that their lives have brought them. As things become heavier, the need for release becomes paramount and the guys ratchet the tone up from dirtily comical confessional to a wild night (or two) of partying that leaves each of them staring at the cold hard truths of what their lives have become.
It’s not a particularly unique comedy, but where it stands out is in the four actors they wrangled together to make it happen. I Melt With You is a slightly younger, but much dirtier version of television’s Men of a Certain Age. Younger because while the men are quite retrospective about their lives, none of their plights ever seem particularly profound, and dirtier, because, well, it does away with just about all restraint once the film gets into its livelier moments.
Unfortunately, that places I Melt With You in something of a paradoxical state when trying to attract an audience. It’s not going to appeal to the same crowd that would typically seek out the guy comedy, and it’s especially not the kind of film that a group of people would sit around to watch. It almost requires life experience beyond what the men in the film are facing (i.e. being older than them) because otherwise it seems like a flimsy pretense to just tell a bunch of dirty jokes and watch great performances by Lowe, Jane, Piven, and McKay.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
The disc is surprisingly loaded with extra features with two audio commentaries (the first with Director Mark Pellington, Jeremy Piven and Rob Lowe being the best), interviews with Piven and Pellington, a bunch of trailers for the film, a behind the scenes featurette, and deleted scenes. A few additional promo pieces can be found, but they’re entirely redundant after the commentaries, interviews, and featurettes.
"I Melt With You" is on sale February 28, 2012 and is rated R. Drama. Directed by Mark Pellington. Written by Glenn Porter. Starring Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane, Christian Mckay.