Both Demi Moore and David Duchovny are rather picky about the movies they choose as a vehicle for their talent. Unfortunately, more often than not, their choices prove to be bad. The film I am about to review falls into that category.
“The Joneses” is billed as a comedy/drama. I honestly don’t get that. I found nothing particularly funny within the film. In fact, for the most part, I found it depressing.
“The Joneses” is about a family that moves into a ritzy suburban neighborhood. They own the biggest house; have the latest cars; decorate with the most expensive furniture and accessories available and dress in the best clothes.
On the surface they look perfect. There’s a beautiful wife, a handsome husband, a lovely teenage daughter and a perfect son. But looks can be deceiving.
While the family puts on a good front, behind the scenes they are anything but. Kate Jones (Moore) is demanding and anal about almost everything. Daughter Jen (played by Amber Heard) is a bit of a sex fiend. Son Mick (played by Ben Hollingsworth) is hiding an important secret.
The only normal one among them, if you can call it that, is Steve Jones (Duchovny). He is friendly, out going, thoughtful and fun. Of course those are the various things that wife Kate doesn’t like about him. Or does she?
It seems the Joneses always have the best of everything and they have no problem sharing that information with their newfound friends. Perhaps because that is their job. The Joneses work for a firm that pays them to push certain products in order to up the sales quotient. The family is good at what they do.
However, eventually things start to go wrong. Jen decides she is more interested in having sex with a neighbor’s husband than being the “in” queen at the local high school. Mick makes a play for the wrong individual in search of a relationship. Worst of all, Steve’s ability to sell his neighbor Larry (played by Gary Cole) on new things, sends the man spiraling into bankruptcy and worse.
I’m not high on films about con artists. I think showing the scummy side of human nature and trying to make it look good is just plain wrong. Therefore, I hate the film on that premise alone.
Nonetheless, there are some things about this movie that are worthwhile. Moore, for example, shows a multi-layered woman who appears to be in control but, in real life, is anything but. She says she has everything she wants and needs but the audience is aware that is a lie. The one thing she wants most is to be loved.
Duchovny also builds an interesting character. At first, the audience is eager to dislike him but he makes that difficult; especially when he shows complete remorse for his actions.
The screenplay penned by Derrick Borte and Randy Dinzler is original. It makes you think about the choices we make in life and it drives home what is really important. I just wish it didn’t do in such a frivolous way.
Borte also directs and he does a good job. Moore and Duchovny shine as do Cole and Glenne Headley as his wife. Even the kids have a few moments.
Despite good acting and a creative screenplay; however, this movie just doesn’t quite work. It is at its heart a meaningless journey into the pitfalls of everyday life. We all live that, so we don’t particularly want to view as entertainment on the big screen.
I can only give “The Joneses” two out of five stars and that is pushing it. Nonetheless, the actors are owed their just do so those stars are for them.
RATING SCALE USED:
0 = A stinker. Don’t waste the money!
1 = Bad. Rent it at your own risk.
2 = Below average. See only if you have time to kill.
2.5 = Average. A toss up.
3 = Good. Worth a looksee.
3.5 = Very Good. I recommend it.
4 = Excellent. Don’t miss it!
4.5 = Outstanding. What are you waiting for?
5 = Destined to become a classic. You will be sorry if you don’t see it.