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Archive for the ‘Men Women & Children’ Category

Men, Women & Children

Men Women & Children poster.jpgAuthor Chad Kultgen isn’t for everyone, as horrid as Men, Women & Children seems on the surface it’s not nearly as bad as his novels The Average American Male or The Lie.  I found it strange that anyone would adapt one of his novels let alone Jason Reitman.  Reitman’s last film Labor Day was one of the worst films of the year and a minor setback in Reitman’s film career.  I’m not sure how much Men, Women & Children advances that career.

MWC suffers from sensory overload, yes I get that’s the point, but having text messages, Facebook posts, Instagram and web addresses thrown at the screen left and right is jarring from an enjoyment standpoint.  We’re disconnected from the world by being so reliant on social media, and when parents thrust themselves in to the mix and misunderstand on how those forums are used to communicate it can cause for serious confusion. Confusion that could have disaster written all over it.

The film follows a group of kids and their parents.  Don (Adam Sandler) and Helen Truby live a boring life.  Sex is devoid from their relationship and Don has turned to watching porn all day long because Helen is no longer interested in him, and they both turn to the internet to find something they’ve lost in their marriage.  Their son Chris also has a porn addiction that begins to manifest itself in the real world in violent ways.

Patricia (Jennifer Garner) is an over-concerned parent that monitors everything that her daughter Brandy does.  All Facebook posts, text messages, tweets go through her.  As much as giving your children too much freedom is a bad thing, putting a stranglehold on them can be even worse.

Joan and her daughter Hannah are working on her growing modeling and acting career, and both are clueless that maybe the website they built isn’t in the best interest of Hannah’s future.  Then there is Tim.  A kid that quit the football team in order to spend time playing his online video games.  He misses his mother who has re-married and is just having a hard time adjusting.  He withdraws from the world around him.  Throw in an anorexic girl and we’ve got a winning formula!  I understand these are all serious issues with teens in America so please take my sarcasm with a grain of salt.

All of these characters become interconnected and their miserable lives affect each other for the worse.  This must be the saddest town and high school that ever existed.  I understand the severity of the themes at hand here, but Kultgen’s novel found a way to not take itself too seriously, and thrust some pieces of humor in there without being overbearing.  I actually liked the novel a lot.  This I do not like.

Reitman had the chance to adapt Kultgen’s novel in to a modern day Fast Times at Ridgemont high, but he’s so focused on being sad and bleak that absolutely zero joy shines through in the film….and I thought Labor Day was depressing.

There are no like-able characters in Men, Women & Children at all.  In fact I hated every single one of them.  Sandler again convinces us that he shouldn’t be on the screen anymore, and Jennifer Garner almost bored my eyeballs right out of my skull.  The film is also for some reason narrated by Emma Thompson during points of the film.

Rietman started out 3 for 3 with Thank You For Smoking, Juno, and Up In The Air.  With his last three films it looks like he’s now batting .500.

Grade: D