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Under Review: ‘The Joneses’

— by MARIUSZ ZUBROWSKI —

I can’t imagine myself as an actor or a salesman, and considering a salesperson must act to persuade potential buyers to their cause, I can see myself failing in the business.

But in such hard economic times, it’s easy to say the power of salesmanship has weakened along with the dollar — thus it’s an awkward time to release a film such as “The Joneses,” a drama that basks itself in consumerism and the social-elite, thus limiting it’s appeal.

The Joneses are a perfect “family.” To outsiders, Steve (David Duchovny) and Kate (Demi Moore) are a happily married couple with two beautiful children.

Despite just moving, Steve and Kate are already throwing exquisite parties in their enormous home and their “children,” Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth), quickly rise to popularity in their school. In the eyes of their neighbors, the Joneses are the epitome of the modern family. This inspires the neighbors to buy whatever the Joneses claim to be a trend. Little does anyone know but the “Joneses” aren’t really the “Joneses” and the family is instead a unit of salespeople trained to use their charisma in order to increase the sales of various products.

There is nothing “wrong” with the film, with the exception of the third act which gets needlessly melodramatic, and the clichéd climax. The story-telling is passable and “The Joneses” does have its shining moments; however, the premise and characters are too superficial and greedy to be considered relatable to most audiences.

Being in the loop is important to the characters of “The Joneses.” This causes them to be reckless in their budgets (and this may even anger cash-strapped viewers). This is most evident in Larry (Gary Cole), who resorts to showering his wife with gifts in order to bring the spark back into their marriage. He is also pressured to be better than Steve and thus shells out even more money on expensive television sets and sports cars. Of course, everything has its consequences and Larry falls behind on the bills. Though this is because of stupid decisions on his behalf, it’s surprisingly easy to feel pity for the character and this is due to Cole’s convincing performance.

But another problem with the film is that although is sports an intriguing premise and a competent cast, it remains plain and forgettable. It’s a hard sale and unfortunately director/screen-writer Derrick Borte does not have the talent of persuasion that the Joneses do, making his debut picture one that can be skipped.

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Follow Mariusz Zubrowski on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ItsJustMariusz.

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1 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Q #
    1

    I have actually wanted to see this one since the trailer came out.



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