August 11, 2010

We live in a society driven by greed, jealousy, and the constant desire to be the biggest and the best.  Sometimes we lose sight of what’s really important while in the process of trying to obtain such a ranking.  The Joneses, starring David Duchovny and Demi Moore, takes a look at that superficiality and delivers an interesting spin on it.  My full review of The Joneses on DVD after the jump:

The Joneses is one of those films that sort of flies under the radar despite the big names heading the film and a supporting cast of well-knowns.  After its premiere at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, it made its way to the big screen in April of 2010, but with a limited release only. The movie is currently available on DVD everywhere.

The story centers on the seemingly perfect Jones family as they make the move into an incredibly affluent neighborhood.  It doesn’t take long for their new neighbors to envy the kind of lifestyle that Steve (Duchovny), Kate (Moore), and their children, Jenn and Mick (Amber Heard and Ben Hollingsworth) lead.  It also doesn’t take long for the cliché, “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is” to ring true.  The thing is, The Joneses aren’t the perfect family…they aren’t even a family at all.  They are employees from a marketing company, who use the perfect family façade as a way of introducing high-end products to neighborhoods throughout the world.  Steve, the newest employee to the company, finds it increasingly difficult to keep his own personal feelings and emotions for the people around him separate from his work. He develops feelings for Kate, feels bad about swindling his neighbors, and wants to help his faux kids with their personal issues.  The Joneses is a story about how much of yourself you might be willing to give up in exchange for financial gain.

It’s an interesting concept and an interesting look at greed in our society, but ultimately, it falls short of being a good movie.  Even the “always likeable” Duchovny and the “only gets better with age” Moore can’t save the predictable plot.  One of the major problems with the film was that, aside from Duchovny’s central character, you’re never really given the opportunity or desire to care for any of the others.  So, when this pretend prefect family begins to encounter some serious hardships, it doesn’t really affect you. There are a couple reasons to check the film out and they come in the form of two of the supporting actors: Lauren Hutton and Gary Cole. Hutton pops in for a few excellent scenes as Kate and Steve’s heartless boss. Meanwhile, Cole broadens his acting range even further as Steve’s next-door neighbor and friend, who finds himself falling into serious financial debt as he tries to “keep up with The Joneses”. Cole plays well off Duchovny and their drunken encounter at a cocktail party is easily the most intense scene in the movie.

With that being said, the film is the first for writer, director, and producer Derrick Borte.  Keeping that in mind, the film deserves some praise.  A lot of times, when you have the writer of the film directing as well, it tends to be too lengthy because they have a hard time cutting certain parts of their work.   Borte does a good job of keeping the story moving along at a comfortable pace.  As mentioned before, the story is an interesting one, so credit is due there as well. There’s also no telling how much of the script may have changed from the time it was on the page to when it ended up on the screen, so the predictable direction of the storyline might have been the fault of Hollywood suits.

In some cases, the deleted scenes on a DVD are really enjoyable and some scenes had to be taken out because there is just too much excellent content in the film already.  The few deleted scenes on The Joneses DVD really aren’t these types of extras. They do nothing for the plot, so it’s understandable why they didn’t make the final cut.  There’s really not much to chop through on this DVD.

Bottom line: It’s true that everyone may be jealous of all of the items that the Joneses possess, unless they happen to own The Joneses on DVD.  I can hardly see anyone actually being jealous of that.

Latest News