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Men, Women & Children: Anxious to seem contemporary as any after-school special

Adam Sandler plays Don Truby and Rosemarie DeWitt plays Helen Truby in "Men, Women & Childern," from Paramount Pictures and Chocolate Milk Pictures.

Dale Robinette

1.5 out of 4 stars

Men, Women & Children
Written by
Jason Reitman and Erin Cressida Wilson
Directed by
Jason Reitman
Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt and Judy Greer

Jason Reitman's latest film is a misguided intergenerational ensemble drama focusing on a group of Austin, Tex., teens and their parents.

All of their problems, it seems, from adultery to anorexiaand an ectopic pregnancy, can be blamed on the Internet, texting and social media. The hooked-up world's many victims include Don (Adam Sandler), a schlubby porn-addicted dad married to restless wife Helen (Rosemarie DeWitt), and Donna (Judy Greer), a failed actress who markets provocative photos of her teen daughter online.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jennifer Garner plays a paranoid mom, Patricia, who fanatically monitors the online activity of her teen, Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever), driving the girl to find solace with another sensitive misfit, Tim (Ansel Elgortof The Fault in Our Stars).

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Both cautionary and comforting (yes, some kids today prefer conversation to cybersexting), Men, Women & Children is as anxious to seem contemporary as any after-school special. As students shuffle through school hallways, Pop-up graphics record the babble of texts produced by the teens' phones, showing their thoughts to a series of typographical grunts.

While leaving the theatre, at a preview screening, I heard a girl turn to her friend and say: "That was the dumbest movie ever." In the film, that would be distilled to: "Movie totes sux. L8r."

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