Jason Reitman‘s got a new drama and it’s called “Men, Women & Children.” It’s got a terrific ensemble cast in Emma Thompson, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Kaitlyn Dever (“Short Term 12,”) Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort (“The Fault In Our Stars”) Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”), J.K. Simmons, Dennis Haysbert and Elena Kampouris (“Labor Day”). But reviews out of Toronto, where the film premiered, were decidedly mixed. One crowd found it to be a thoughtful and powerful look at the way the digital age brings us together while also dividing us. Another crowd described it as akin to “Crash” for the Internet (we mean the Paul Haggis version, not the Cronenberg version, which could be pretty awesome).
Our reviewer in Toronto was decidedly in the latter camp. “Jason Reitman’s film becomes the very thing it initially mocks, a ‘Dateline‘-esque ensemble piece about the dark consequences of logging on, that tries and fails to send an overarching message about human connectivity and looking beyond your screens to the universe around you,” he wrote. Here’s the official synopsis:
MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets, and our computers.
“Men, Women & Children” hits theaters on October 1. Would-be Oscar contender, or a whiff like “Labor Day,” a film Reitman described himself as “misguided”? It’s your call. Watch the trailer below and let us know what you think.