"The Joneses", a social commentary on our consumerist society. Perfect couple Steve and Kate Jones, and their gorgeous teen-aged children Jenn and Mick, are the envy of their posh, suburban neighborhood filled with McMansions and all the trappings of the upper middle class. Kate is the ultimate trend setter - beautiful, sexy, dressed head-to-toe in designer labels. Steve is the admired successful businessman who has it all: a gorgeous wife, big house and an endless supply of high-tech toys. Jenn and Mick rule their new school as they embody all that is hip and trendy - cool clothes, fast cars and the latest gadgets. But as the neighbors try to keep up with the Joneses, none are prepared for the truth about this all- too perfect family. Written by
Demi Moore and Glenne Headly previously worked on Mortal Thoughts (1991) See more »
At the end of the movie, Steve is walking down a road, the cars passing him are on the wrong side - they come over the hill on the wrong side of the road. See more »
Man, this thing rides smooth!
It's very nice.
Yes, it's like riding on the ass of an angel. I mean, I wish I could have sold a crossover like this, I wouldn't have been able to keep them in stock.
See more »
At the beginning of the end credits, the photos of several "icon families" are shown, popping out on a world map. See more »
something close to a paradox- a dark satire with likable characters- but it's good
The Joneses is not top-shelf satire. Its concept does suggest that it could be something of a great little suburban parable, something that years ago could have come up on the Twilight Zone. An upper middle class (or, let's face it, upper class) family of four- the Joneses, Steve, Kate, Jenn and Mick- move in to a very nice new house. The neighbors are impressed already, and become even more impressed (or just jealous) of how they live, which is quite well and with many little extravagances other people would want. This is because they actually aren't a 'real' family; they're a corporate selling unit, put together by a company looking to have a family sell to the richest yuppies, young and middle-aged or old, in the area, by creating envy and, ultimately, mass consumption.
It's a wicked little game made up so that all of the relationships of the Jonses with the outside world are of a shallow, synthetic nature by design. There can be attachments, but it's preferred that things stay on a simple, amiable social-networking level so that more people buy more stuff to fill in their big-ass houses. What the filmmakers explore is this idea, but also the nature of the family "unit", and what happens with these people when they're around each other for such a period of time. Kate (Moore) is the leader of the unit, making sure everyone is up to par on their sale percentages, especially Steve (Duchovney) a failed golf pro turned car salesman who is on shaky ground. He's not completely full of crap, so it takes a little while for him to find his bearings selling the lifestyle he and the Jones' leads, but at the same time he also has actual not-fake feelings for Kate, which throws a monkey wrench in things, especially his oncoming "icon" status.
A lot of this sounds good, but the reason it's not really a top-shelf satire is that it just stops short just when it looks like it will take off. It hints at being a dark look at suburbia, and hints at a kind of under-the-mat aspect like American Beauty. But the characters don't get very well defined after their initial set up; Steve is the good guy, Kate is the slightly conflicted working woman, Mick the closeted homosexual 'son', and Jenn the girl sleeping with a married man, or whomever she can find (i.e. Steve). This also goes for supporting characters, like the one the talented Gary Cole plays as the Joneses next-door neighbor, who is such a consumer whore that he doesn't see what harm he's causing to his busy-body wife and marriage in general (his downfall is very predictable). And the last several minutes of the film is especially too 'happy', meaning that whatever scathing undercurrent of capitalist nightmare realized going on in the first half of the film is resolved in such a way that is obvious.
However, this shouldn't discourage what is good about the film, because what is good is very good. When the script is witty it's very witty, and when the actors are likable, they shine off the screen. Demi Moore hasn't been this appealing (perhaps ironically so considering her cold business-like character) in years; Duchovney does well as a genuinely good person who happens to be working like a con-man; Amber Heard is the newest hot girl on the block seemingly genetically engineered between Kiera Knightley and Kristen Stewart's good looks. It's simply an excellent premise that takes off only so much as to its conventional screenplay will allow (some intrusive songs also don't help much and sort of detract from more dramatic points).
42 of 47 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this