For someone who shares so much of his life online, Steven of The Uneducated Opinion found Men, Women and Children a little confronting.
I said yes to reviewing Men, Women and Children prior to seeing or hearing any publicity for it. Not being someone that likes to take risks, fear was draining the blood from my legs as I went online to investigate whether I had got myself into some sort of mind-numbing indie shit. The sensation returns to my extremities as I discover it is directed/written by Jason Reitman, the man behind Juno and Thank you for smoking, two films that I thoroughly enjoyed. The only worry I have now is that taking into consideration my recent leap into my 30’s, the running time is 119 minutes…that’s a long time to stay awake in a dark room and a comfortable chair.
Men, Women and Children centres around the extremely current and relatable topic of the Internet and how it is affecting our lives. Sure this film wasn’t going to hit a home run for Jazba of the Gawarkee tribe in West Africa who isn’t yet aware that mobile phones exist, but for everyone I know that lives a significant portion of their lives on social media, this will be almost uncomfortably real. It covers everything from “I want to cheat on my husband” websites, to young love that blossoms thanks to the confidence and camouflage of sitting behind a wall of social media. Throw in a mother that practically starts a porn site with photos of her teenage daughter, a virgin that has desensitised his chances of enjoying sex by watching extremely graphic pornography and then darken the whole mood with some suicide. Thanks to the numerous storylines and characters being followed throughout the film, it walked a constant tightrope between comedy and drama; keeping my interest from waning for the entire 119 minutes.
The film is split almost 50/50 between freshfaced actors and some of the most recognisable in the business. Adam Sandler once again proving that he isn’t just on the planet to dress as a woman and produce piss-poor comedies that destroy our souls; using his rapidly aging face to give us another one of his hilariously depressing performances (reminiscent of his Funny People role) while all the while reminding us about the effects that gravity can have on human flesh. Jennifer Garner is so good at playing an uptight bitch (again) that I don’t like her, which I think means she did an amazing job. An unknown to me by the name of Ansel Elgort won me over with his fragile teenage character Tim, who was dealing with his parent’s recent separation by burying himself into the world of online gaming. Tim’s online addiction breaks down a once close relationship with his father (played by Dean Norris) as his online confidence opens the door for a relationship to blossom with a girl from school. Just like the movie Daredevil. Though Jennifer Garner, although having the best intentions, ruins the whole thing.
The humour in this film is crude, filthy and confronting. For me to say that is a big deal because I usually have the most grotesque humour in the room. I think the hardest part to deal with was how realistic the humourous dialogue was; it was an embarrassing reminder of some of the shit that used to come out of our mouths when we were teenagers. Usually watching someone discuss the taste of ejaculate would gain a laugh from me but I think I was struggling to deal with the fact that the woman sitting next to me reminded me somewhat of my mother, and she found it to be hilarious… so don’t see it with your mum is what I guess I’m saying.
Men, Women and Children, although shot and directed with an indie feel that usually spells long-winded scenes of boring dialogue to me, maintains a fast and interesting pace that kept me from checking my watch every 10 minutes. For someone like me that shares much of his life online, it was certainly uncomfortable at times and got me thinking about both my own online presence, and what my stance will be on the internet for my children as they become old enough to beg for a Facebook account.
Really worth seeing, just to reiterate though do NOT see it with your mum… unless of course you enjoy sharing a laugh with your mum about Adam Sandler masturbating.