DVD Release Date:  July 15, 2008
Theatrical Release Date:  April 4, 2008
Rating:  R (for sexual content, violence, nudity and language)
Genre:  Comedy
Run Time:  95 min.
Director:  Bernie Goldman & Melisa Wallack
Actors:  Aaron Eckart, Jessica Alba, Elizabeth Banks, Logan Lerman, Kirsten Wiig

Poor Bill (Aaron Eckart).  As vice president of human resources at his father-in-law’s bank, he has the title and the cash, but no responsibility.  To Bill’s dismay, everyone admires his brother, a former high school football star who is now out of the closet as a gay man, living with his boyfriend.  Bill dreams of financial freedom through his own donut franchise, and he’s secretly trying to make this happen.

Bill is also trapped in a loveless—though infinitely polite—marriage to the boss’s daughter.  Jess (Elizabeth Banks) is an unrepentant narcissist who has hooked up with the local anchorman (Timothy Olyphant).  Bill’s biggest problem, however, is not his self-centered wife, his Dilbert-like job, his brother or even his cloying in-laws.  It’s the fact that Bill can’t stand up for himself.  Instead, he just chows down on chocolate bars.  Suffice to say, Bill has quite the gut.

He’s suckered into mentoring a young kid from his prep school.  The kid, whose name is, well, “The Kid” (Logan Lerman), is a mouthy truant who is constantly finding ways to smoke pot and escape from responsibility.  At just 15, Kid ogles and flirts with every female he passes, and loves to wear women’s underwear.  His current ‘project’ is a lingerie salesgirl (Jessica Alba), whom Kid eventually enlists to help Bill.  Ultimately, Kid ends up mentoring Bill.  And thanks to this stellar role model, Bill finally gets a life.

The acting in Meet Bill ranges from Victoria’s Secret smiles without substance (Alba and Banks) to some of the strangest facial contortions I’ve ever seen (Eckart).  No one really expects much from these two actresses, but Eckart is an excellent thespian, so his choice of a role is all the more bizarre.  It’s not that Bill isn’t believable, though.  He’s just not very likeable.  As a result, even when he finally begins to change, we don’t care much.

The film is hindered by an extremely poor script, which appears to be a low-rent American Beauty copycat.  It’s full of clichés and bad dialogue, and it all hinges on a pitifully predictable plot.  As if that’s not enough, we’re also forced to endure montage after montage of silly antics (one of which takes place when Bill and Kid get stoned together) timed to a trendy, pop music score.

And that, along with Eckart’s grimaces, are perhaps the strangest aspect of the film.  With its young co-star and hipster montages, Meet Bill appears to be aimed at kids.  But, its adult content—which includes constant drug use, sexual references and needlessly gratuitous language—make it only appropriate for adults.  First-time feature directors (and husband and wife team) Bernie Goldman and Melisa Wallack should have simply left this picture in pre-production purgatory.  In other words, don’t meet Bill.

DVD EXTRAS:

  • Deleted scenes
  • Previews

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Numerous scenes with drug use (pot smoking and crack), including a teenager who appears to be addicted, and who persuades adults to engage.  Some alcohol use as well, usually in social settings.
  • Language/Profanity:  Numerous very strong profanities and obscenities.
  • Sex/Nudity:  A graphic sex scene between a married woman and an unmarried man; scene is replayed several times on video camera and the Internet; another implied sex scene, also adulterous; an extended scene of a woman showing off her new cleavage in revealing lingerie then asking several people (including a married man) to touch her; numerous discussions about women’s lingerie; a scene in a lingerie shop where a teenage boy models women’s lingerie for an older woman. Later, boy wakes up wearing woman’s underwear, with the implication that he has been intimate with the owner (later proved to be unfounded).  Discussion about a gay man and his live-in lover, as well as several scenes in their home, including one shot of the men in bed with each other.
  • Violence:  A man threatens another man and punches him, after catching him on camera with his wife; several pratfalls and physical comedy.