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Men, Women & Children


Stars: Adam Sandler, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, Jennifer Garner, Kaitlin Dever, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Dennis Haysbert, Emma Thompson (narrator)

Director: Jason Reitman

Although uninvolving and rather pseudo-profound, this is still an unusual and welcomely sober movie about sex and its consequences, via texting and the Internet in our modern world. Thus it is in many ways a timely and thoughtful film, and I wish I could say it riveted me more to the screen, especially as the endings to its stories are much as they should be.

But the preponderance of the participants' on-screen activities and messages means that it does drag on a bit, while the frank dialogue in some scenes hardly adds to their emotive impact.

We meet long-marrieds Don (Sandler, a rare example of a modern comedian who's more effective when being serious that when trying to be down-and-dirty funny) and Helen (DeWitt), who each embark on their own sexual adventure on the 'net; the neurotic Patricia (Garner) who monitors the entire life of her blameless daughter Brandy (Dever) on cellphone and Internet; and more - if anything, there are too many characters.

And yet it's hard to get away from the thought that this is, in some respects at least, an important film that shows how damaging the 'net can be. And it's well-acted by its ensemble cast, especially Haysbert in an all-too-brief, slightly spooky cameo as one of DeWitt's lovers.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by FotoKem.
116 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 02 Dec 2014