3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
If professional critical opinion on this movie is any guide, middle-aged white males like me are really just embarrassing to everyone, and our problems -- unfulfilling careers, divorce, widowerhood, chemical dependency -- are just not worth watching. The world seems to think we'd be better off dead, the sooner the better. That way, my generation -- given the appellation "X" by cynical Madison Avenue marketers who couldn't figure us out -- will no longer be able to bother anyone with our loud and nasty music, our nasty cynicism, our nasty skepticism, our nasty lack of pretension about ourselves.
Well, NOT SO FAST, you goody-two-shoes, you nice people, you sensitive people briefly troubled with *practical* problems that have achievable solutions, you Millennials, you pursed-lipped old Boomer ladies, whoever the hell y'all are. We're still here, we're still partying, we still have the best music, and you know what? -- you're not invited. Get out.
The movie clearly touched raw nerves, particularly among professional reviewers whose byline photos show that they're just as "middle-aged" and "white" as the characters in Mark Pellngton's film. The other offended group were tenderfoot Millennials who resented the movie's dismissal of them, to say nothing of them being depicted as snotnose brats full of Oprah-wisdom and faux-entitlement. (The aging GenXers in the movie at least earned, or in Jeremy Piven's case, stole, their OWN money.) Former porn-star Sasha Grey's presence also seemed to offend everyone. I was glad to see her, myself, but that goes along with my disgusting sense of "entitlement", I suppose. Reading the negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, I was continually struck by the incorrect use of the word "entitlement"; it's sort of like the way people incorrectly say "begging the question" as if someone is asking a question *really hard*. Don't get me started on the apparent confusion about what a "straw man fallacy" is.
ANYway. At least Pellington will have to be grudgingly recognized as a creative visual stylist -- the movie is by turns nauseating and gorgeous to look at. He's working with someone's else's first screenplay, and the errors show. Despite a few nice moments, like Piven telling off some smug little Millennial, Thomas Jane's recognition that he was hardly ever sober with his three friends, and Rob Lowe's emotionally naked performance in general as a suffering divorced man, the script has serious problems. Too much druggin' and drinkin' and not enough character buildin' in the first hour. A pact made 25 years ago is a ludicrous maguffin. Christian McKay's depressed gay character is completely out of place with this bro group. The final stretch is terribly staged, and worse, boring.
"You live in this world of disillusion!" cries one of the Millennials to Thomas Jane's cynical ex-novelist, while defending her New Yorker-published short-story-writing boyfriend (yeah, right). That's right, hon, we do. But you know what? Someday *you'll* be disillusioned too, when you enter your forties and realize that you've spent your whole life looking at your devices and curating your own personal social media "brand" with nothing to show for the effort. You too will sigh with despair. And we GenXers, hideous in our sixties and seventies, with our dialysis and diabetes and yellow teeth and liver spots, will be there, laughing. We will gather you in our drooping, wrinkled, smelly arms.
3 out of 5 -- two stars earned for Generation X's proudly negative view of itself, and the extra star earned for one of the best soundtracks I've heard in some time: Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Jesus & Mary Chain, Bauhaus, et alia. GREAT cuts from those bands, too, not just the obvious ones.