Monday, August 23, 2010

The Joneses (2010)

So far, there hasn't been a lot of films that can be called as "events" in Hollywood and Canada. Despite a few weaknesses in its plot, Derrick Borte's The Joneses is, so far, one of the most clever films from 2010. It's just too bad that the film didn't get a wide release.

Steve (David Duchovny) and Kate Jones (Demi Moore) form a perfect couple. Along with their teenagers - Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) - they make people in their suburb green of envy. In fact, while Kate looks well-dressed, Steve looks like a wealthy businessman who's got the latest "toys", a big house and a beautiful wife. As for Mick and Jenn, they're very popular in their school, because many students want to have what Mick and Jenn have.

Scratch a little bit and you get a totally different picture: the Joneses are not a family. In fact, all the four "Joneses" are sellers who were hired by some corporation to sell anything you can imagine. Moreover, Kate and Steve sleep in separate bedrooms; Jenn wants to do to Steve what a daughter wouldn't dare to do to her father; and Mick doesn't talk a lot to anybody in the "Joneses family".

The least we can say is that The Joneses tries to be intellectually audacious and entertaining. As a matter of fact, through the supporting characters (especially the ones played by Gary Cole and Glenne Headly), the film delivers a social commentary about the consumerist nature of the American society. Besides, the film is not shy to use caricatures. Of course, such a tone might look dismissive. However, in the case of The Joneses, this approach works quite well.

As a bold film, The Joneses deals with the materialism inherent to the pursuit of the "American dream" with so much honesty. Besides, you can tell that this film wouldn't have been made in Hollywood, because The Joneses doesn't hesitate to openly talk about the biggest problems of the USA: maxed out credit cards, debts and even foreclosure. With that said, without promoting austerity, the film asks these questions:

  • Are we happier if we consume more?
  • Are some Americans going too far in their attempt to "buy" the "American dream"?

All in all, The Joneses is definitely a must because of the brilliant it handles its topic and its "take no prisoners" tone. The only reproach that can be made to the film is the fact that it ends in a rather predictable way. Moreover, while Amber Heard and Ben Hollingsworth pretty much plays second fiddles to Duchovny and Moore, they sure do a fine job.

Rating: 4/5

Origin:USA (2010)
Length:96 minutes
Screenplay:Derrick Borte and Randy T. Dinzler
Director:Derrick Borte
Starring:Demi Moore, David Duchovny and Amber Heard

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