[Review] The Joneses

This would be so much easier, and so much more boring if The Joneses was about your typical American family. On the outside, they’re perfect. A married couple with two beautiful children and the newest Audis are parked on their driveway. But looks are deceiving.

The Jones is just a stage name. For all its “family members”, each and every one has their own field to work with. Their job, you ask? It’s to live and sell the American dream. Everything they own, everything they do, is for the sole reason of getting good sales numbers for their boss. On the outside, Kate (Demi Moore) and Steve (David Duchovny) work as the perfect couple in front of their neighbors. Dinner parties for the whole neighborhood and even for the customers of a most exquisite beauty salon is an everyday event. For Kate this made up family is simply a unit she has to handle. However for Steve it’s a different matter as he develops feelings for Kate.

She works it and you will want it.

The children, Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) act like the average high school students. Only difference is that their toys are sponsored and they are there to be sold. As Jenn and Mick quickly gain the attention of the kids in school, everyone in this game of house delivers good numbers. Question is; can their neighbors keep up with this expensive life style?

As see-through as this movie gets, it’s still occasionally entertaining. However this mainly relies on Moore’s swift saves of Duchovny’s clearly strained attempts of acting. In aspects of acting skills, one would most likely to praise Hollingsworth. Although given a very obvious role in the movie, I strongly believe that Hollywood should recruit this youngster more often in future projects.

They even look like siblings!

The characters are all presented as strong, but as with all picture perfect characters their flaws are quick to be revealed. From the very beginning, one is introduced to the Joneses as repulsively perfect people. As the audience is allowed to come closer to each character, one starts to realize that even the most structured units have flaws. Most memorable is Larry Symonds (Gary Cole) as he feels challenged by Steve’s social status. Larry is also the character that the average Joe would recognize himself in. No matter how much this material world tries, humans can never be entirely satisfied with just materialism. We have other needs than to have the biggest and latest HDTV in our living rooms.

The Symonds (Gary Cole & Glenn Headly) oh so dysfunctional marriage.

The character developments seem to take a U-turn in the second half of the movie. It’s a shame since much of the characters’ history is wasted and not to mention the talents that could’ve been enhanced. Much of what is shown of the characters leaves you with an impression of awe. However as the story unravels there seem to be more questions than answers. The Symonds is presented as the friendly neighbor couple with a cold and very unsatisfying relationship – as opposed of what is presented in the Joneses family. Everything seems sudden and it leaves the impression of an urgent ending just to get the movie over with. Needless to say, this part is a disappointment.

You _will_ want to see Jenn (Amber Heard).

The story, written by director Derrick Borte, is essentially brilliant but somehow along the line it loses its touch. As it starts, the story is solid and it keeps you curious of what it’s like living a dream. But living a dream also involves hard work and the movie makes a splendid reflection of today’s culture of things we “must have”. Yet it seems to me that the second half of it takes turns of the predictable kind.

The soundtrack is weak as it leaves no remarkable trace during the course of the movie. It would have been a far greater impression of the stirred feelings dealt among the characters.  A better choice of music would have enhanced those feelings of uncertainty and insecurity within the group of people interacted.

While watching this, try not to want the R8. I dare you.


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