Men, Women and Children: internet alarms ring

Jennifer Garner in Men, Women and Children

Men, Women and Children showed up as new on Prime Video and I liked the cast so I gave it a watch. I didn’t realize it was from 2014 and not particularly great until it was going, but I stuck with it.

Men, Women and Children rings an alarm bell warning the earth that the internet will be the ruin of us all, but that doesn’t really matter because we’re just a tiny blue speck in a vast universe.

The film uses its excellent cast to detail a laundry list of evils that social media, p0rn, multiplayer games, and texting can cause.

Let’s start reviewing the cast with Patricia Beltmeyer (Jennifer Garner) and her daughter. Brandy Beltmeyer (Kaitlyn Dever). Patricia is paranoid about her daughter’s social media life and monitors all her devices and every keystroke on her computer. She instantly knows everything about her daughter’s digital life.

Kaitlyn Dever and Ansel Elgort in Men, Women & Children

Tim Mooney (Ansel Elgort) is depressed. He quit the football team and everyone hates him because he quit. His mother ran off with another man. He plays hours of an online game. And he likes Brandy. Because Brandy is so hemmed in by her mother, Tim and Brandy have an old fashioned relationship based on face to face interactions.

Elena Kampouris stars at her phone in a dark bedroom in Men, Women and Children

Allison (Elena Kampouris) has an eating disorder and finds tips for how to not eat online. Allison’s Dad (J.K. Simmons) has no clue that she’s starving herself.

Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt in Men, Women & Children

Don (Adam Sandler) and Helen (Rosemarie DeWitt) have a dying marriage. He watches p0rn and hires escorts. She goes on a website designed to help married people cheat and finds men for sex.

Dean Norris and Judy Greer in Men, Women & Children

Kent Mooney (Dean Norris), father of the game player, and Donna Clint (Judy Greer) have a first date. Donna has been marketing suggestive photos of her teenager Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia) on the theory that it will help her break into Hollywood.

Are you getting the picture about the great cast? The film includes a oddball narrator (Emma Thompson) and characters played by Dennis Haysbert and Timothée Chalamet, too.

Jason Reitman directed this melange of threatening uses of the internet. I felt like he asked all his pals to be in a movie and they said yes based on his past record. The great cast couldn’t elevate the movie beyond average. Not horrible. Not great. Just middling.

In some ways the message was spot on. The internet has ruined lives. And everyone is addicted to it – men, women and children.

Whether you watched this when it first was released or just watched it recently, I’d love to hear what you thought about it.

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