Men, Women & Children is Worth Missing
Men, Women & Children continues to prove that I love Jason Reitman when paired with Diablo Cody’s writing, and not so much any other time.* Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy watching this film; I spent my time trying to figure out why this was such a bad movie.** This movie is populated with actors I adore*** yet it was a terrible, terrible film.
The verdict: Skip
Consider watching instead:
- The Meyerowitz Stories (Serious Adam Sandler!)
- Laggies (More Kaitlyn Dever!)
- The Ice Storm (really brutal Ang Lee!)
- Boogie Nights (Porn stars! But through Paul Thomas Anderson’s lens)
*Juno I love. Young Adult I love. Tully I adore (and why haven’t you watched it yet?) Up in the Air left me cold. Granted, I still need to see Thank You for Smoking, Labor Day, and The Front Runner to have a clear picture, but so far non-Cody-written films aren’t winning.
**My verdict: it might be a book-to-movie problem. It’s certainly a too-many-characters problem. With about ten character arcs, people get flattened to one personality point. Because the movie is about sex and the internet, every single character interaction save one couple has to do with sex. Ansel Elgort and Kaitlyn Dever were my two favorite characters because their interactions had nuance. (And they had nothing to do with sex.) As someone who is interested in depictions of sex in film and books, this was fascinating. Update! I read the first section of the book on which the film was based to see if the characters were more well rounded. They were not and the dialogue was wooden. This was not a book-to-movie-problem, the story wins in no formats. (Though maybe interpretive dance?)
***Rosemarie DeWitt! Judy Greer! Emma Thompson! Jennifer Garner! Kaitlyn Dever! Serious Adam Sandler!
- Have you seen this? Did you find anything redeeming?
- What do you think the key to a good ensemble cast movie is?
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
Writer, producer, and director Jason Reitman felt so much of the acting in this movie was based on reactions to texts, chats, and photos that using dummy screens with no text would not suffice. The production team had to create very realistic-looking versions of popular websites, all on their own tightly controlled software, with which the actors and actresses could interact in real time. According to Reitman, they spent “the same amount of budget on creating the digital world as we did creating the physical one. People know what Facebook looks like better than they do a hotel lobby, you stare at it all day, so it had to be convincing.”
I did think this was one aspect that the movie did well.