Insincere and superficially nihilistic, Arlington Road director 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’s Husbands than third-rate Chuck Palahniuk. Thomas Jane is 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 is the pill-popping-and-peddling Dr. Feelgood, and Christian McKay is 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 miserable and implausibly living the same, epically misguided Peter Pan lives—take seriously a death pact they signed in blood as teens. 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?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 7, 2011