The Joneses (2009)
May 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
Written by Randy T. Dinzler and Derrick Borte
Directed by Derrick Borte
Starring David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Ben Hollingsworth, Amber Heard, Gary Cole and Glenne Headley
A film about consumerism and perception versus reality, The Joneses are a contrived family in a contrived film thats apparently about very rich, easily manipulated people. The film is too neatly wrapped up in its own conceit, making for convenient plot points and story development that in no way jives with real life.
Its hard to explain my gripes without giving away the Big Secret of the film (which was actually given away in the trailers) but suffice it to say the films message about consumerism and marketing is a falsity. It seems like an overly complicated, expensive and excessive way to sell merchandise. The film seems to ignore human truths like personal taste, individuality and the fact that its a lot harder in real life to manipulate people through marketing (subliminal or not) than the film suggests.
That said, the cast all give stand out performances. This is the best Demi Moore role and performance in years, as the head of the Jones household, ruling with an iron fist, but a personable demeanor. David Duchovny expands on his newfound niche as a dryly disaffected 40-something with a chip on his shoulder but a smile on his face. Amber Heard isn’t given much to be but be eye candy and once again flash her chest for no particular reason and relative newcomer Ben Hollingsworth is actually quite good as Duchovny and Moore’s son, who has his own secrets which burden him. Gary Cole rounds out the main cast, stealing his scenes as a mildly depressed, easily manipulated neighbor of the Joneses, who latches onto Duchovny like a lost puppy, much to the chagrin of his Avon-lady type wife, played to naive perfection by Glenne Headley as a sales woman who thinks she working the Joneses, when it’s the other way around.
The Joneses presents an interesting concept, but again, the conceit is pulled off with no appreciation for real people’s ability to think for themselves. In the end, the set up feels deceitful as a hook, even if that’s the point of the film in the first place.