Friday, April 16, 2010

The Joneses

A well-rounded dark comedy about product placement and competing with your neighbors. Made for fans of great subtle comedy in the indie vein.

Rated R for language, some sexual content, teen drinking and drug use.

The Joneses

Although very funny and fairly dark, The Joneses is one of those films that is sure to make you think – especially about any new family that moves into your neighborhood.

The Joneses have moved into a new prominent neighborhood. At first glance, they seem to be a typical wealthy family – Steve (David Duchovny, The X Files) plays golf with the guys, his trophy wife Kate (Demi Moore, Ghost) loves spending time in the salon, and their high-school-age kids Jenn (Amber Heard, Pineapple Express) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth, The Cutting Edge 3) are trying to win the respect of their peers.

But something is off. And it doesn’t take long before we, the audience, are let in on their little secret, a secret that nobody is ever going to find out about.

The Joneses are not the family we think they are. They’re not even family at all. In reality, they are simply a group of good-looking charmers hired and put together by large corporations to subliminally introduce new products into wealthy areas, turning them into fads. For example, Steve accredits his impressive golf game to an expensive set of clubs. Kate shares her fashion secrets with her local stylist. Mick shows off the latest technology and Jenn shares her costly make-up in the locker room. Together, the four of them set out to “do some damage” – by making sales of those products skyrocket in their region.

Having to put up a full-time act, they each end up longing for their own wants and desires. It’s when their personal lives get involved that things get out of control.

As creative and unique as The Joneses may sound, its final act falls victim to typical Hollywood writing. But in this case it is easily excusable. Had it not been for the fluffy clichés thrown in towards the end, The Joneses may have been too dark to enjoy.

Duchovny and Moore both remind us that they can truly act. The rest of the cast works, but Duchovny and Moore truly shine. We connect with and care for their characters the most.

If you’re looking for a smart film that will win you over, don’t miss The Joneses.

Photo credit: Roadside Attractions

3 1/2 out of 5

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