Monday, 8 December 2014

Men, Women & Children (2014)

Jason Reitman, it appears, is on a downward trend. Films of his like 'Juno' and 'Up in the Air' were very well received (personally, I didn't take to 'Juno') but, since then, his films have garnered less affection. Indeed, 'Men, Women & Children', at time of writing, is sitting at 37/100 on Metacritic and 32% on RottenTomatoes.com. And those opinions are probably more morale boosting that the box office returns in the eyes of the film-makers.

'Men, Women & Children' seeks to explore the impact of technology in the lives of a bunch of teenagers and their parents. How does it influence their relationships, communications, and self-esteem. You get characters who are MMO addicts, porn addicts, weight-loss diet addicts, fame addicts, and so on. It is too much effort to go into more detail than that.

The subject matter of the film obviously has some relevance to today's environment. It seems most people I come across these days are addicted to their phones and such (which is especially annoying in the cinema when some idiot cannot go a few seconds without checking their Facebook and all that). But the subject isn't the issue with the film. It's how it chooses to present it.

While it may try to claim it is a comedy-drama, it is mostly drama with tiny hints of comedy. And the drama isn't some carefully handled piece. No, it's very much in your face (where's Jim Broadbent's Santa telling people to "Get out of his face" when you need him?), clunkily handled and full of its own self-importance (which, based on what it says at the end, makes this a hypocrite). It also comes off feeling a little preachy. It wants you to think it's thoughtful, penetrative, eye-opening look at modern communication. It perhaps could have been, but it isn't.

None of that caused me to actually despise the film. It doesn't really do much in a way that would typically wind me up. I was more bored by what it does. There was little I saw in it I could relate to (probably because I'm not the most sociable chap - this blog is about as communicative as I get and no-one reads it) and there is little life to the film as a whole. I didn't think it was awful, but there was little in their to engage me or make me believe what it was showing me was worthwhile despite it forcefully showing its material down my throat with its heavy-handed story-telling.

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