Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Men, Women & Children

Men, Women & Children
Starring:
Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Olivia Crocicchia, Kaitlyn Dever, Ansel Elgort and Elena Kampouris


Rated: R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue throughout-some involving teens, and for language.
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: October 17, 2014 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation

Director, Jason Reitman brings a journey of love, affection, loneliness, and sexuality in a community which  in the large picture of the Universe is a very small part of existence.  His perspective on location and significance is enhanced by following the space probe Voyager as it leaves the Solar System and photos back to a pin point of light which is Earth.

Even with the limited importance of the problems of these Men, Woman & Children in the scope of the Universe the battles they face are critical to their existence.  It is most vital in the adolescents who are under peer and parental pressure to perform in one way or another.  Initially the story revolves around edgy sexually tension in nearly all of the characters. At that point it is easy to consider that the film is just a little stimulating sexual game for us to watch, but given the total scope of the script that reaches for the high road which we might not expect to see.     

Adam Sandler is Don and is married to Helen (Rosemarie DeWitt) both have been drawn into the darker side of the cyber Internet world.  He constructs the perfect women he would like to meet and become intimate with and she decides to connect with other men.  The relationship between the husband and wife has become passive and we wonder if this will just be one of those events which occur because the intimate life between the two is just not hot enough.  What makes this different occurs late in the film, and it is not what would be expected. 

Judy Greer is Donna a mother that wants her daughter Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia) a cheer leader to be successful in Hollywood where she did not successfully develop a career.  In somewhat of a reversal of what we expect, Mom pushes the photographic record of Hannah to the edge of explicit exposure and that has consequences.  

Just the reverse Patricia (Jennifer Garner) hovers over her daughter using various technical tools like monitoring her computer and read her TXT messages.  Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever) is the girl who is the target of the over controlling mother, who causes tragedy by interfering with her relationship with Tim (Ansel Elgort).  Tim a football star has quit football that has angered his father who just lost his wife to a new guy in California.  Tim is now in the position of being hated by his former teammates, his father who wants him to play, along with Brandy's mother a dark non trusting person who must control her daughter's life.  The resolution of this situation is played very effectively by Garner at a climatic moment. 

Another story revolves around Alison (Elena Kampouris) a young woman who fights to keep her body as slim as possible, she is sad and lacking in confidence.  She seeks acceptance by becoming intimate with one of the popular guys on the high school campus.  The result of that union brings a crisis to her and her parents particularly he father who is angry and doesn't understand or accept what has happened to her.  

Almost everyone is headed in a dangerous difficult direction caused by their actions as they reach for understanding and affection.  Tim and Brandy find a place where they can watch the beauty of waterfall and hold on to each other late into the night.  That positive night leads to a crushing tragedy when Brandy's mother intercepts and  answers Tim's TXT for understanding pushing him over the edge.  

All their problems head for crisis, but Reitman's moves the script to a conclusion which is not typical or expected, but it is interesting and unique as well as resolving.  All this goes on as Voyager continues its journey out of the Solar System dwarfing all of the problems which this small group of people on a small speck in the Universe are experiencing.  

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Men, Women & Children  B      C                     B- 

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