Front Row at the Movies
"Men, Women & Children"
Views Invasive Digital World
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Ivan Reitman is a pretty good producer and director. He gave us such classic movies as "Animal House" and "Ghostbusters." But, truth be told, his son is even better.
You’ll know Jason Reitman by such films as "Juno" and "Up In the Air." The structure of his films is usually pretty nimble. And his casting is always spot on. "Juno" gave us Ellen Page as a feisty pregnant teen. "Up In the Air" put George Clooney into first class as an on-the-go corporate hatchet man. His "Thank You for Smoking" offered superb satire, casting craggy old Sam Elliott as the dying Marlboro Man.
Now he gets even more ambitious. Kinda like he can pat his head and rub his belly at the same time, so now he wants to show us he can do it while standing on one foot. So don’t be surprised if he loses his balance a bit.
His new film "Men, Women & Children" -- currently playing at Tropic Cinema -- is a complex subject with a tangle of storylines about the invasion of the online digital world into our private lives.
As you’d expect, each thread has a notable star:
Don Truby (Adam Sandler) is a dad addicted to online porn. He and his wife (Rosemary Dewitt) have resorted to scheduling sex with each other. She’s considering having an affair with a man (Dennis Haysbert) she met on a dating website. Her husband’s checking out escort services on the web.
Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia) is a cheerleader who’s into sexting pictures of herself. Her mom (Judy Greer) posts suggestive photos of her daughter in a "private gallery" of a website.
Chris (Travis Trope) edits a video of Hannah, then fumbles sex with her. Nevertheless, she tells all her friends it was great in order to enhance her rep. He returns to watching his dominatrix fetish porn online.
Allison (Elena Kampouris) tans the shape of a heart over her crotch, but when she offers to show it to her boyfriend he tells her to text him a picture instead. She has an eating disorder encouraged by the anorexic community on prettygirlsdonteat.com.
Kent (Dean Norris) deletes his son’s online roleplaying game account. Tim (Ansel Elgort) tells his dad he understands why his mom left him for another man.
Patricia (Jennifer Garner) reads her daughter’s chat log to see what the girl’s been up to. She answers emails, pretending to be Brandy (Kaitlin Dever), resulting in her daughter’s boyfriend nearly OD’ing when rejected.
All of this -- and more -- is introduced by the disembodied voice of Emma Thompson while we watch the Voyager Space Probe sail through the galaxy.
Reitman seems to be telling us that all this doesn’t amount to much, just some odd happenings on a little blue dot in the solar system.
Maybe you’ll like it; or maybe you’d rather go home and trawl the Internet for a new porn website.