Henry Alex Rubin’s “Disconnect” opened this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival, a screening that seems so very far away from the film now returning to theaters. Admittedly, it was one of the better opening movies in the year of the fest, boasting recognizable names and a contemporary setting. And it was definitely a step up from “Darling Companion,” the previous year’s film about a couple searching for a dog. But outside the context of the evening, with the excitement hanging in the air like ozone over a beach, “Disconnect” is all a bit much of a muchness.
A woe-is-us worryfest about the evils of technology, Andrew Stern’s script gives us three stories and interweaves them later in the film. With its po-faced moralizing, it’s reminiscent of Paul Haggis’ drippy “Crash,” but with iPads, which itself was an attempt to reinvent Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” (which took its inspiration from Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts”).