Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Joneses (2009) [R] ***+

The Joneses are the perfect family – attractive, wealthy, sophisticated, articulate, and well-mannered. Steve (David Duchovny) plays a great game of golf; his beautiful wife Kate (Demi Moore) is slim and tanned, and wears the newest clothes and accessories. Their lovely daughter Jenn (Amber Heard) shares the latest cosmetics with her high school classmates, and their handsome son Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) shows off the hottest tech toys and gadgets to his classmates.

Soon the Joneses, recent arrivals in their affluent neighborhood, have become the envy of their neighbors – everyone wants to have the same clothes, furniture, cars and toys that the Joneses have. And keeping up with the Joneses can be very expensive. The Joneses have a secret, however. They're a stealth marketing cell - unrelated people who pretend to be a family, move into an upscale neighborhood and display expensive furnishings and toys that their neighbors just have to own.

This is a gentle satire featuring a smart screenplay, an excellent cast and outstanding production values. The film criticizes the affluent, acquisitive lifestyle – how we define ourselves by the things we own. It begins as a comedy with the four at work subtly introducing friends, neighbors and classmates to the products and services they are promoting. We watch them interact when they're not working, living together, separating real from pretend, and dealing with their desires. And we see them respond to the pressure to increase sales, as they get performance reviews from K.C. (Lauren Hutton) their cell manager. While the first act is fast-paced and promising, the pace eventually slows, and the actors don't seem to have enough to do. By the third act, the story has turned much darker, as neighbors Larry and Summer Symonds (Gary Cole and Glenne Headly) try to deal with their mounting debts. There is a happy ending, but it doesn't feel quite genuine. Regardless, if you're a fan of Demi Moore or David Duchovny, you'll probably enjoy The Joneses

Labels: comedy, drama, high school, satire, teenager
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 55/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=62, viewers=64)    

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