I went into this film with only a recommendation from The Interrobang, my favorite radio show’s (Ron and Fez on XM) website, and no more than three words (which were the most spoilery three words ever). I read no reviews or summaries. I went into this movie cold, the way I like it. Once the end credits start, one word ran through my head. Polarizing. I think it’s an amazing film, but I can feel something in the back of my head telling me it’s a piece of shit. Trying to find the middle ground would be useless. This movie is an over the top guy movie. It will speak to the most ugly side of you. I won’t go much into plot, but rather the general themes and visual aspects of the film. The following trailer is a little strange, but not as revealing as the red band trailer.
The film follows four 44 year olds: Richard (Thomas Jane), Jonathon (Rob Lowe), Ron (Jeremy Piven) and Tim (Christian McKay). They are former college friends who reunite every year to remember the old days by trying to relive them. Richard is a former novelist turned high school teacher, Jonathon is a recently divorced doctor trying to maintain a relationship with his son, Ron is a married stockbroker with three daughters, and Tim is mourning the death of his girlfriend and boyfriend, who died in a car accident. This reunion happens to be taking place during Tim’s birthday and they go all out; a huge house in Big Sur, Porsches, and enough drugs and booze to kill an army.
These guys are at times (most of the time) loud, disturbing, misogynist, insane, annoying and countless other negative adjectives. They throw themselves into a debaucherous haze while lamenting their current states in life. At one point they invite a gaggle of twenty somethings to help party their hearts out, all while trying to decipher where they went wrong. I hate to say I know men in their mid forties who act like this, but i do. The film is directed by Mark Pellington, a noted music video director. This is very apparent in the film. Many of the scenes end up just being music videos for the 80s songs that are riddled throughout the film. It works in some parts, but there were moments where I forgot I was watching a movie (I was a little tired). Much of that is due to the gorgeous cinematography. I got lost a few times, especially when the soundtrack blasts over nature scenes. Pellington seems to be focused on making each frame stand on its own. This leads to a lot of quick cuts between scenes. Its an over stylized film that really pushes boundaries at times. The beginning of the film features words in all caps flashing in and off the screen, essentially yelling out to you the contradicting thoughts of the characters. I AM A MAN. NOW I REMEMBER. WE FORGET. I CAN FUCK. I CANT GET HARD. SHE LEFT ME. I LOVE YOU. I AM AFRAID.