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Disconnect

How social-networking technology forces people apart informs this new ensemble drama

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Henry Alex Rubin's ensemble drama tells four somewhat interlocking stories of lives disrupted and consumed by new technology. In one tale, a teen-age boy is part of an online sex-chat group that a TV reporter is profiling. Two other teen-age boys are "catfishing" a schoolmate, leading the nerdy loner to believe there's a girl interested in him. Across town, an already troubled husband and wife discover they're victims of online identity theft. Needless to say, everybody's story grows more tragic and frantic — until the batteries run out, and people remember that it's often easier to communicate face to face. There are some good performances and enough intrigue to keep viewers engaged in easy-to-predict narratives. But ultimately, this Crash-like exploration of social networking doesn't have much to impart that we don't already know: Good-old-fashioned human contact matters; assume nothing on the Internet is real; and stop texting at the dinner table. The other truism about humans is they will act foolishly, despite warnings, and that gives Disconnect a depressing vibe rooted in reality.

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