Friday, April 16, 2010

Not Much To Buy At The Joneses' Home Sale

The Joneses

I recently read an article on people who stand in line for hours to purchase the new Apple Ipad…only so that they can destroy it. They claim to be making a statement but, by paying for the product, are those customers really rebelling against the system? The idea of fighting against consumerism is at the heart of Derrick Borte’s The Joneses.

The arrival of Kate (Demi Moore) and Mike Jones (David Duchovny), along with their kids Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth), in an upscale suburban neighborhood causes quite a stir amongst the residents. Living in a lavish house, with all the cutting edge clothing and gadgets, it is easy to see why The Joneses quickly become the toast of the town. It seems everyone, especially neighbors Larry (Gary Cole) and Summer (Glenne Headley), want to emulate Joneses lifestyle. Despite their seemingly perfect exterior, the Joneses may not be the ideal family they appear to be.

The Joneses is one of those films that work best if you go in not knowing too much. While writer/director Derrick Borte creates a brilliant premise, he unfortunately fumbles with the overall delivery. The film wants to be both a satire on consumerism and a romantic comedy, the latter of which is what ultimately hurts the film.

Since Borte must continually keep the romantic subtext flowing, The Joneses never reaches the biting satirical level that it really should. This is a shame since both Cole and Headley steal every scene they are in. The odd thing about The Joneses is that the film itself plays like one long product placement commercial. Maybe this is Borte’s way of emphasizing how easily it is for us to be swayed by marketing. Still, it is tough to take Duchovny’s speech, on our constant obsession with things, seriously when every other moment you are being shown the latest Audi vehicles.

I will say that The Joneses is one of those moves, similar to Up in the Air, that will benefit greatly from its timely release. The world is still trying to get out of the recession and, now more than ever, companies are trying their best to get ever last consumer dollar. If Borte had gone for a more cutting satire The Joneses could have easily been one of the better films of the year. As it stands, you will leave The Joneses slightly disappointed and with a desire to buy something.


  1. I kind of want to see this.

  2. @Simon - If you are going to see it in theatres then make it a matinee screening. Not a full price film.


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