At First Glance: “Men, Women & Children”

Some film trailers don’t take much to hook you. So much for the content held within. Name recognition is enough to sell you on something. If a films trailer can take all these things and present them well, you’ll no doubt have a winner.

With the upcoming Paramount Pictures film “Men, Women & Children”, the reputation of the director and cast, along with the fascinating plot, all the work is done for me. I need not think on whether I’m interested in this film or not? I know the answer already.

This comedy drama stars Adam Sandler (“Blended”, “Grown Ups 2”), Emma Thompson (“Saving Mr. Banks”, “The Love Punch”), Rosemarie DeWitt (“Touchy Feely”, “Promised Land”), Jennifer Garner (“Draft Day”, “Dallas Buyers Club”), Judy Greer (“Married”, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), Dean Norris (“Under the Dome”, “The Counselor”), Ansel Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars”, Divergent”), and Dennis Haysbert (“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”, “Think Like a Man Too”).

This film is directed by Jason Reitman (“Labor Day”, Young Adult”) and written by Reitman (“Labor Day”, “Up in the Air”) and Erin Cressida Wilson (“Call Me Crazy: A Five Film”, “Chloe”). It is based on the book of the same name by Chad Kultgen.

The film is set to hit theaters in a limited run on Oct. 3, followed by a wide release on Oct. 17. The film is also going to be shown at the Special Presentations section at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.

It looks dark. Dramatic. Hard to think what could possibly be funny. Unless, Reitman is going for dark comedy. Even “Young Adult” wasn’t as nearly dark looking as this film appears. It also was a bit more dry than that of “Juno”, but I believe it’s in capable hands. The outcome should be good.

I’m intrigued simply because the whole premise is very provocative. It’s practically a character study. While this film may or may not be a full on critique of our current society, it certainly provides enough to think about. I see this film gripping us with the idea of what are these people going to do next in their private lives, that the public will hopefully never know about. Of course, you couldn’t have any drama, let a lone a film, without someone figuring some things out.

This trailer, while it is devoid of any actual dialogue, packs a lot into a few minutes. There’s so much secrecy going on, and clearly problems beginning or ending, that I’m automatically hooked. How did the people, children and adults, get to these particular points? It’s an exploration.

The major downside, sprinkled with a bit of hope, is that Sandler is in this film. His films, more or less, suck. I don’t think he’s put out a good, or even mildly decent, film since the early 2000s, and even then it was hit or miss. Here, at least, his character doesn’t appear to be able to act like a complete imbecile and be some completely obnoxious person that you grow tired of after five minutes. His character, like all of them, will probably just suffer from a lot of other bad decisions and that’s where the drama will come from.

Even with Sandler in the film, the entire cast has a lot to bring. It makes me even more excited to see how each one will contribute a different character, with a complex life, and see them live a vastly different private life from that of the public image they maintain. The only problem, for some reason, is some of the time, I didn’t feel I could identify who was who to every other character. I’m sure it’ll make sense in the final cut.

While this is an adaptation of a book, there’s going to be comparisons. But that’s not what has me more interested in the book. It’s still the story. I’ve never heard of this man, as have probably many other people, so it just makes the film and book all the more interesting. I feel a trip to the bookstore may be in order. For both mediums, the story is the most captivating part. I will be allowed to view the world from a fresh and original perspective. At the very least, I can have something new to dwell on for a few hours.


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