Similar to the first wave of Telluride reviews for “Labor Day,” just a year ago, reactions sprouting out of the Toronto Film Festival for Jason Reitman's “Men, Women & Children” encompassed a full spectrum. Critical opinion from voices on the ground ranged from impressed praise to cries that the film was DOA. A new trailer for “Men ,Women & Children” cuts through the schizophrenic chatter.
Whatever the finished product amounts to, Reitman's film is on the offensive against the zeitgeist, his notable cast keeping the intrigue spinning. Adam Sandler, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Jennifer Garner, Dennis Haysbert, and J.K. Simmons all costar in the film, about a entangled suburb dealing with the 21st century's digital vices. “Fault in Our Stars” leading man Ansel Elgort, Olivia Crocicchia, and up-and-comer Kaitlyn Dever round out the cast, representing a younger generation more in tune with (or lost in?) the Internet age than any of the adults.
As Kris mentioned when the film's first teaser arrived, “Men, Women & Children” is a evened-out ensemble movie, no particular performance written to break out and dominate. While a lack of standouts makes for a harder sell come Oscar time, our own Gregory Ellwood says the approach is also a hurdle for Reitman's inquisitive storytelling. In his review from Toronto, he praises the movie's “auspicious start,” but says it eventually falls flat due to its own sprawling nature: “The problems arise from the fact that too many of these storylines are not compelling enough and a few are intentionally left open-ended.”
Even the harshest reviews find room to appreciate Dever and Elgort, both front and center in this new spot. Greg called Elgort “strikingly sympathetic and heartbreaking” and Toronto was aflutter over Dever's one-two punch in “MWC” and “Laggies.” If there's any lead for Paramount to jump on, it's the stregnth of the film's young performances – which explains why this expanded trailer popped up on MTV. Is the iPhone generation ready to turn the camera on itself for a existential selfie? If so, “Men ,Women & Children” could be a hit.
“Men ,Women & Children” arrives in theaters Oct. 1