Trust

In fact, that’s really the only reason I can recommend the family drama: as a cautionary tale about what happens when the social network becomes a sexual one. It should be an “ABC Afterschool Special,” and not playing at theaters starting Friday.

At least it’s well-made. With “Trust,” director David Schwimmer — yes, Ross from TV’s “Friends” — revisits the themes of his previous outing behind the camera, 2007’s “Run, Fatboy, Run” — and, yes, I’m being sarcastic.

Clive Owen (“Duplicity”) and Catherine Keener (“Cyrus”) play loving parents to Annie (newcomer Liana Liberato in a breakthrough role), a model student, but starved for peer attention. When she receives a new MacBook for her 14th birthday, she begins chatting online with a boy in another state who — unbeknownst to her, but certainly not to audiences — is a grown man.

Her naïveté leads her to meet him at the mall. Initially stunned at his middle-agedness, she nonetheless allows herself to be sweet-talked into his car, and things go from bad to worst-case scenario.

That’s when Dad takes action, waging a one-man war against Internet child predators — but not, mind you, in Owen’s “Shoot ’Em Up” mode. (Now that would be something to see.)

This is when Schwimmer slathers on the melodrama, so much that it covers up all goodwill fostered in its first half. Character motives and reactions feel less realistic, and the film switches from narrative to sermon. In iChat lingo, it may not be a CWOT, but you’ll likely be left asking, “AYPI?”

Rod Lott

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