In Sleep With Me, the characters flirt and rut and show off their beautiful skin like refugees from the latest Aaron Spelling soapfest. Everyone is smart-alecky and good-looking, and there’s lots of soulful suffering, though never with a hair out of place. The movie is about the rivalry between two young men, Joseph (Eric Stoltz) and Frank (Craig Sheffer), over Sarah (Meg Tilly), the woman they both love. Joseph is meant to be a cool, hostile jerk; Frank is the sensitive one whose feelings spill out because he just can’t help himself. Yet how can we tell the difference? From what there is to observe, Joseph is handsome, charming, deftly ironic, with an easy smile, an earring, and the latest in elegant grunge facial hair; Frank is handsome, charming, deftly ironic, with an easy smile … The hook is that these characters aren’t teenagers hanging out at the mall. Joseph and Sarah, you see, are married — and so are most of the other prettified love addicts who flit through the movie. Sleep With Me is a hormonally drenched soaper passing itself off as the latest psychodramatic X ray into a generation (yes, that generation). The movie’s pretensions are ludicrous: This is a portrait of youthful marriage that fails to depict so much as a moment of warmth or intimacy between couples.
Yet the director, Rory Kelly, does have a knack for spontaneous wiseass repartee. He stages a poker game that captures the pathetic bluster of middle-class guys trying to act tough, and there’s a very funny monologue delivered by Quentin Tarantino, the motormouth director of Reservoir Dogs and the upcoming Pulp Fiction, who explains why Top Gun is a homoerotic allegory. (He’s right, of course.) There’s more to chew over in Tarantino’s throwaway, too-many-hours-at-the-video-store erudition than there is in all the fake let’s-get-real Sturm und Drang. C