WRITTEN BY: Jason Reitman, Erin Cressida Wilson
DIRECTED BY: Jason ReitmanSTARRING: Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler, Ansel Elgort, Rosemarie DeWitt, Dean Norris, Judy Greer
RATING: 3 stars
Men, Women and Children seems to have a lot to say about social media and how technology has changed the way we interact with each other. Unfortunately, it does not really raise any new points that have not already been addressed. Nonetheless, it is a fun exploration of how we portray ourselves online and to our friends and family compared to who we really are. While there are a lot of laughs along the way, the film is also far darker than expected, dealing with some serious issues including suicide, body image, pornography, overbearing parents, marriage breakdowns and young love. With so many plot lines, there is sure to be something everyone can relate to in this film.
Based on the book by Chad Kultgen and narrated by Emma Thompson, the film explores several stories. Don (Adam Sandler) is married to Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) but they are in a rut. He masturbates to porn so much the spyware has killed his computer, while she longs for some romance. Meanwhile, their son Chris (Travis Tope) has also watched so much porn that he cannot get an erection without it. His love interest Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia) has a questionable modelling website run by her celebrity-seeking mother Donna (Judy Greer). Hannah's friend Allison (Elena Kampouris) hardly eats because she is obsessed with being thin. Overprotective mother Patricia (Jennifer Garner) tracks every move her daughter Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever) makes on her computer and phone. Finally, Tim (Ansel Elgort) is struggling after his mother left his father Kent (Dean Norris). He quits the school football team to play computer games and strikes up a new friendship with Brandy, while Kent starts dating Donna.
Garner is a stand-out performer in this long cast while Tim and Brandy's relationship is the most realistic and enjoyable to watch. Norris and Greer lack chemistry, as do DeWitt and Sandler. The remaining cast are all solid. Ultimately, Men, Women and Children covers a lot of different issues and is an enjoyable film.