This movie is like someone standing on a beach watching a man drown 6 feet from shore where, instead of throwing the drowning man a life preserver, the sadistic watcher throws him a series of concrete blocks. Aaron Eckhart is the drowning man, desperately trying to save himself and this film, while the insipid script and lifeless direction of Meet Bill keep dragging him down.
Bill (Aaron Eckhart) is less a character and more a collection of characteristics. He's got a pot belly and a bad haircut. He has his job only because he married his boss' daughter, even though his boss treats him more like an intern than an executive. He's got a gay brother and a serious candy addiction. I guess this mix of common and quirky traits is supposed to make the audience empathize and identify with Bill, but he's really just an annoying and self-pitying shmuck.
Bill is unhappy with his life and dreams of trading in his job at his father-in-law's bank for running his own doughnut shop. Then, two things happen. First, Bill is roped into being a mentor to a high school kid (Logan Lerman). Second, Bill finds out his wife Jessica (Elizabeth Banks) is cheating on him.
Let me digress for a moment. The high school kid in Bill doesn't have a name and is, in fact, listed in the credits only as "The Kid". If you ever write a screenplay, on behalf of everyone who might ever read it, I beg you to please, please, please give all of your characters actual names. You might think it's cute and clever to have one just be called "The Kid" or something, but it's not. It's stupid and aggravating. People, whether close friends or relative strangers, call each other by their names all the time and it's both very noticeable and irritating when a script goes out of its way to avoid that. I don't care if you think the character being nameless has some thematic significance. It's just dumb.
Returning to the movie, Bill freaks out when he discovers Jessica is sleeping with a cheesy local news anchor. He beats the guy up and gets thrown in jail. Bill also moves out of his own huge house and into his gay brother's equally huge home. He hangs out with The Kid, who tries to help Bill loosen up and enjoy life. Bill also takes up swimming and keeps trying to finagle his way into owning that doughnut shop. There's also a sex tape, a big party where everything goes wrong and a pointless subplot where The Kid keeps hitting on this lingerie store clerk (Jessica Alba). Not that hitting on Jessica Alba is pointless, but it serves absolutely no purpose in the story.
The things that happen in this movie either don't make sense or you don't care about them if they do. How does a dorky loser like Bill end up with a woman who looks like the incredibly appealing Elizabeth Banks? There's no explanation of what Jessica could have ever seen in him. Bill obviously gets paid a lot of money for very little work, has a huge house and a smokin' hot wife
and we're supposed to care that he's not satisfied with all that? When we find out Jessica is cheating on Bill, there's no emotional impact to it because if you were married to a pathetic non-entity like Bill, you'd probably cheat on him too. There's absolutely no reason or explanation for why The Kid makes such enormous efforts to attach himself to Bill and try and help him out, like an overexcited hybrid of Ferris Bueller and Jiminy Cricket, and The Kid is so theatrically irreverent that you just want Bill to smack him. The story also connects Bill's growth as a human being to him shaving off his body hair, which is just odd.
This movie is completely uninvolving, even though Aaron Eckhart is working as hard in this film as I've ever seen any performer work in anything. He does everything but drop trou and show us his Little Eckhart to make us laugh or feel ANYTHING about Bill. All of his efforts, however, are smothered by the relentlessly limp work of these filmmakers.
Unless you enjoy watching a drowning man being thrown cement blocks, there's nothing in Meet Bill for anyone to enjoy.