Insincere and superficially nihilistic, Mark Pellington's swaggering, midlife-crisis melodrama—about a soulless quartet of asshole college buds you'd never want to do blow with reuniting for a tragic Big Sur bungalow bender—is less Cassavetes' Husbands than third-rate Chuck Palahniuk. Thomas Jane's the womanizing author without a second book in him (think David Duchovny in Californication, but frattier and humorless); Jeremy Piven's the corrupt equities trader awaiting the hammer to fall back home; Rob Lowe's the pill-popping-and-peddling Dr. Feelgood; and Christian McKay's the terminally depressed one—and that's before his tearful, bisexual three-way with Sasha Grey and some local dude. Stylish cinematography and an awesome punk and new-wave soundtrack make the early, music-video-like montages of debauchery at least trashy entertainment, but the film's second half couldn't be more contemptible, as the guys—all secretly miserable and implausibly living the same, epically misguided Peter Pan lives—take seriously a death pact they signed in blood as teenagers. When they're not chugging, snorting, or standing together in overwrought sand-dune solidarity, local cop-ex-machina Carla Gugino investigates their, um, mounting disappearances. Why can't this lost weekend stay lost?
Bros in midlife (from left): Piven, Lowe, McKay, and Jane.
Opens at Varsity, Fri., Dec. 16. Rated R. 123 minutes.