MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The Joneses is the new family on the block, and they seem to have all the coolest new toys, gadgets and other trendy things. However, this seemingly perfect family isn’t what it appears to be. Both parents and the two kids are employees of a high-level marketing firm that uses them as plants to get people interested in new products. However, when guilt and bad decisions start to cause problems with their perfect little life, the corporate lie threatens to be revealed.
WHAT I LIKED
I went into “The Jone$es” cold. I had no idea what it was about and had to figure it out as soon as the disc started spinning. I didn’t even read the cover box. That made for a mighty interesting viewing experience because several surprise moments were actually surprises to me… more than they would have been if I read the blurb on the back cover or even that “What It’s About” paragraph above.
“The Jone$es” has a lot to say about commercialism, materialism and greed, and these are not insignificant messages. I suppose none of us want to think of ourselves as the people in the neighborhood which the Joneses inhabit, but I also suppose that we have more in common with sheep following the trendsetters than we’d like to admit.
I can’t say I’d watch “The Jone$es” again, but it wasn’t a bad little film to get you thinking about how much materialistic crap you really need. And it wasn’t bad to see some good actors like David Duchovny and Demi Moore back in a movie again.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
As interesting as the message is with this film, it is equally as hypocritical of the movie industry to shake its finger at fads, trendsetters and materialistic nonsense. And it seems strangely out of place for certain logos to show up in this film when you know full well that there was a certain degree of product placement negotiated for this.
David Duchovny has been struggling to find an acting home even now, years after his career-making role on “The X-Files.” And while he’s achieved a certain measure of non-Mulder fame from “Californication,” he is still reading a bit desperate in this movie. The saving grace for him is that he is balanced out by Demi Moore (who hasn’t had much of a hit since her attempted comeback with “Charlie’s Angels 2”) and Lauren Hutton. It’s a bit of a downer when Amber Heard is has the biggest potential in the cast.
But the biggest problem with “The Jone$es” is that it doesn’t go far enough. Sure, there are some ugly things that happen, but the characters find a way out of too many problems too smoothly. Also, the characters are too smarmy to really like and too friendly to really dislike. The script could have benefited from a more decisive approach.
Just a handful of deleted scenes.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who has ever felt envy on his or her neighbors’ possessions.