BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 15, 2010
The picturesque new family moving in next door has all the newest toys and the envy of the neighborhood. But what price do the Joneses have to pay to have the American dream? Behind the glamorous façade, emotions run high. By the end, the family can barely hold themselves together, secretly or publicly.
The enigma feeding “The Joneses” is unimaginable. However, before viewing the film, I was fully aware of what the reveal was going to be. (SPOILER!) What if commercials, billboards, and newspaper advertisements were no longer enough? What if corporations found a way to inject the idea of consumerism into people’s everyday life without them even knowing? What if product placement wasn’t just for films and television shows? The Joneses are living breathing product placement, hired to travel from city to city and hype the new gadgets being released by corporations to suburbia. All four associates are brought together to pretend to be a family and con their neighbors into buying state-of-the-art belongings. And it works. But at what cost?
Originality is bleeding from the pores of “The Joneses.” The idea, though spoiled in the trailer, is unique, a feature hard to come by in film plots recently, and, personally, an easy feature for receiving a positive review.
“The Joneses” could not be more perfectly cast. Demi Moore plays her part with ease, showing the business dimension of her character to the fullest degree, making the scenes where she is passionate and sincere even more heartwarming and welcome. Though she looks ageless on the cover of the film, she does show signs of wear in the medium. Obviously, I hope I look half as good as her when I am upon that age, but the fact is, she cannot hide the fading flawlessness. Roger Ebert compares Moore’s performance to that of George Clooney’s in “Up In The Air,” causing me to fantasize about a female Ryan Bingham.
David Duchovny is the sole reason to view “The Joneses.” His laid back disposition and carefree lifestyle in the film make his character completely amicable. He is a newbie at the game of deception and, therefore, is more relatable to the audience. Seeing him play with new toys, convince his fake family and real neighbors that he deserves a spot as an “icon, and even effectively winning over Demi Moore’s character, provides an intensely entertaining experience.
Then, of course, you have the children. Amber Heard, who is actually 24-years-old, plays the daughter, who comes off more like the actual age that she is. Her sexy stature and adorable facial features reveal her true intentions throughout the film as she seeks the company of the older men, not even excluding her pseudo father. Heard proves that some women are just meant to be actresses, delivering a perfect performance.
Each character has a turning point, creating the colorfulness of the film. The lack of detail in the supporting characters, like the two dimensional, Avon selling, the braindead neighbor lady played by Glenne Headly constantly forces you to scratch your head and ask “Really!?” Emotionless and void, she should have made the cutting room floor. However, her husband played by Gary Cole redeems the family by pairing his eccentrics with decent and emotionally impacting fruition.
Before you see “The Joneses,” take the lack of knowledge you may have about the film and embrace it. The reveal appears to be a big part of enjoying the film and would have made a huge difference in my perception. But with the anticipation of the eventual reveal, the opening of the film was wasted on me. The performances are the sole reason to view the film, projecting each character nicely for the audience to experience. The original plot and morality checking conclusion, filled with Duchovny’s constant banter makes for one of the most unique films of the year.
April 16, 2010
(for language, some sexual content, teen drinking and drug use)