directed by Jason Reitman
by Bill Chambers We've entered a golden age of movies that use state-of-the-art technology to rail against the use of state-of-the-art technology. An ensemble piece sardonically narrated in the third-person by Emma Thompson (think Little Children by way of Thompson's own Stranger Than Fiction), Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children paints a glum picture of the Internet's hold over the American middle-class. In no particular order, husband and wife Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt seek out extramarital affairs online while their insipid son Travis Tope streams BDSM porn and sexts with cheerleader, classmate, and aspiring famous person Olivia Crocicchia. Crocicchia's mother Judy Greer is a former model living vicariously through her daughter's burgeoning career, posting predator-baiting snapshots of her to the tut-tutting of overprotective mom Jennifer Garner, who thinks nothing of printing out daughter Kaitlyn Dever's private messages to read like the evening paper. (She is, in all sincerity, more infuriating than Piper Laurie in Carrie.) Bookish Dever, meanwhile, finds herself the Jane Burnham to a Ricky Fitts played by dreamy Ansel Engort--a former football hero who, to the chagrin of sports-nut father Dean Norris, retreated into the world of online gaming after his mother left home. Also, there's a thread involving anorexia and rapey boys that never doesn't feel grafted onto the narrative out of some insecure impulse to physicalize the abstract threat of cyberspace.