You might have assumed that Jason Reitman would hightail it back to more comic material like Juno after last year’s would-be romantic weepie Labor Day was laughed off the screen. Instead, the just-released teaser trailer for Reitman’s latest film, Men, Women & Children, suggests that the writer/director is doubling down on drama.
Based on the 2011 book by Chad Kultgen, this star-packed ensemble piece explores the impact of the Internet on the social and romantic lives of teenagers and their supposedly out-of-touch parents. Based on this trailer, it appears that the impact is resoundingly negative: In a series of short, dialogue-free vignettes (the only words in the trailer are “spoken” via IM and texting, we see a teen girl don a slinky black dress to snap glam selfies, a dour Jennifer Garner trading texts with a person claiming to be “alone and empty,” and a pudgy, bearded Adam Sandler — back in serious mode for the first time since 2007’s Reign Over Me — filing out an online escort service form (clearly, these perpetually glum folks need to spend a little more time browsing Clickhole to turn those frowns upside down).
In addition to Sandler and Garner, the film’s cast includes respected screen veterans Emma Thompson and J.K. Simmons, as well as The Fault In Our Stars' breakout star Ansel Elgort, who discussed the movie during a recent Good Morning America appearance: "My character is one of the few characters [in the trailer] not on his phone," he said. "It over-exaggerates, almost, what’s happening [nowadays], but kind of not. Everyone’s always on their phone. I hope this movie encourages people to look out again instead of looking down." We’ll see whether Men, Women & Children becomes a viral phenomenon when it opens in limited release on Oct. 3, followed by a wide rollout on Oct. 17.