Nothing but net: film ponders modern-day dramas of the web

Judy Greer in Men, Women & Children.
Judy Greer in Men, Women & Children. Dale Robinette

JUDY Greer plays an initially unlikeable mum in director Jason Reitman's new film.

The follow-up to Reitman's Golden Globe-winning drama Labor Day, Men, Women & Children follows an ensemble cast of teens and their parents as they navigate the ways the internet has changed their lives.

Greer's Donna is a single mum who tries to further her daughter's acting career with a risqué modelling website.

"It's a hard role because I knew it would be hard to make her likable," Greer told APN.

"I wanted hopefully for the audience to see that she had been justifying her actions for a really long time and that she had talked herself out of really knowing what she was doing.

"I didn't want her to be a cut-throat dance mum. I wanted her to be loving and supportive and ironically protective of her daughter.

Rosemarie DeWitt and Adam Sandler play husband and wife in Men, Women & Children.
Rosemarie DeWitt and Adam Sandler play husband and wife in Men, Women & Children. Dale Robinette

"She's a single mum struggling to make ends meet and she wants more than anything for her daughter to have what she wants. She doesn't want her daughter to go through what she went through."

Breaking Bad star Dean Norris plays Donna's love interest Kent, a fellow single parent still trying to work out his moody teenage son (Ansel Elgort) who recently gave up the one thing they bonded over: gridiron football.

"I think I'm the only person in America who doesn't watch Breaking Bad," Greer laughed.

"Dean is one of those character actors who everything that comes out of his mouth you believe. My heart broke for his character. He's this sweet man who doesn't understand how it all got away from him."

Adam Sandler and Rosemarie DeWitt play a husband and wife whose love life has become tired and predictable, while rising stars Ansel Elgort and Kaitlyn Dever play two high school students who create outlets for their alter egos online.

"It's this miracle really that we figured it (the internet) out but it's also a scary crutch that people use now," Greer said.

"With kids it's scary because their brains aren't fully formed yet. They don't know who they are yet, but they're getting all this input.

Kaitlyn Dever and Ansel Elgort in Men, Women & Children.
Kaitlyn Dever and Ansel Elgort in Men, Women & Children. Dale Robinette

"When I was a kid, you had this down time. I feel like kids now they'll act bored or say they're bored but they're on their phones. There's no off switch to their social lives anymore, no recharging of their batteries - no pun intended - no time to sit and reflect on their day. They're always plugged in and dialled in."

But the 39-year-old admits adults can be just as dependent on technology. "I'm as guilty. The first think I do when I wake up in the morning is I grab my phone," she said.

"One of the things I love about the movie is how it shows the parents misbehaving as much as the kids. It doesn't point the finger at one generation."

Greer will star in the new dinosaur action film Jurassic World next year and is currently filming the big-screen adaptation of Marvel comic Ant-Man opposite Paul Rudd.

Disney is being so secretive about Ant-Man that Greer wasn't even given a single line of the script for her audition.

"In some ways it's very freeing," she said.

"You're like 'oh cool, great, I don't have to read anything. I don't have to prepare anything and I can't do anything. I've just got to make sure I look pretty'."

Men, Women & Children opens on Thursday.

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