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Coffee Break with Liz and Kate » Entertainment, Headline » The Joneses – movie review by Kate

The Joneses – movie review by Kate

The Joneses – movie reviews by Kate

Reel reviews for real people

Rating: R

Genre: Comedy

Plot: If ever there was a film that was perfectly attuned to the current Zeitgeist, it would be THE JONESES. First-time writer/director Derrick Borte imbues a serious core theme– the wobbly undercurrents of a frenetic consumer culture–with humor, warmth and shots of clever, zesty fun.

Borte begins the film by showing us ourselves – or at least who we often aspire to be. We meet Steve Jones (David Duchovny), his wife Kate (Demi Moore) and their children Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) as they move into their monster home in an affluent suburb of a city somewhere in America. Friendly, confident and very good-looking, they are also loaded with the coolest, newest stuff.

The Joneses are much more than just the new neighbors. Within days, all four family members have insinuated their way into the community. Their most dedicated fans are their next-door neighbors Larry (Gary Cole) and Summer (Glenne Headly), a couple devoted to each other yet prone to keeping secrets as well. Despite the Joneses’ success integrating into the community, it’s not long before the fissures in their family begin to spew. But it’s not until an outright catastrophe occurs next door that they are forced to make choices about their priorities.

Borte convincingly makes the case that as a society we have an almost unshakable thirst to shop for the latest and the biggest everything, and he demonstrates how our possessions fill up the emotional hole where our self-worth should be. Given the events of the last year, there’s no doubt that we need to figure out who we want to be, not what we want to buy. –© Roadside Attractions

Starring: Demi Moore, David Duchovny, Amber Heard, Glenne Headly

Director: Derrick Borte

Running time: 1:36

Kate says – 3 stars “What an inventive and intriguing premise for a movie – a “family” made from paid salesmen/actors whose sole job is to infiltrate wealthy  neighborhoods and “sell” their lifestyle. The first 3/4 of the movie is completely entertaining as a social commentary about consumerism and greed and appearances. The ending leaves much to be desired, however, as the movie tries to give us the sappy love story ending that just doesn’t seam to fit with the rest of the movie. All in all, though, I’d say the movie’s cleverness outweighs the predictable ending.”

Ebert says – 2 stars “The Joneses” was directed and co-written by Derrick Borte, an advertising man, and contains a good deal of dark cynicism. It also hopes to entertain, and those two goals don’t fit together easily. Either this is a tragic family or a satirical one, and the film seems uncertain which way to jump.(read full review)

Rex Reed (New York Observer) says – 3 stars “The Joneses is a cross between alternate-universe dynamics and a reality TV show, with relevant things to say—about the vulgarity of possessions filling the hole where self-value should be, especially in a recession—and compelling performances to say them with. Surprising, inventive and crisply, merrily written and directed by Derrick Borte, The Joneses is a brisk, captivating entertainment. Think Ozzie and Harriet on speed.” (read full review)

Richard Roeper says – B+ Sometimes the social satire is a bit too obvious, but thanks to a smart screenplay and excellent performances, “The Joneses” is largely successful in delivering on its intriguing premise.” (watch full review)
Roger Moore (Orlando Sentinel) says – 3 stars “Borte’s film sets us up for a fairly predictable payoff. For a satire that could have been a “scathing satire,” this is a pretty low-wattage affair. The actors are wonderful (Demi and Duchovny “keep this professional” and do their finest work in ages), but there’s little edge, and the laughs are more chuckles as we watch one and all start copying the cool, trendy, new family in town. Still, as cautionary tales about consumerism go, The Joneses manages a deft blend of the sexy, the sad and the silly. And Borte doles out his secrets and surprises in ways that make it easy to keep up with these Joneses.” (read full review)
Eric Snider says - “Do people still say “keeping up with the Joneses”? I know we still jealously observe our neighbors’ lifestyles and try to compete with them, but I think the expression has gone out of fashion. Here’s hoping The Joneses, a dark and funny satire about consumerism, brings it back…Even with its small defects, though, The Joneses feels fresh and original, smart and tart. Its indictment of consumerism doesn’t get preachy — it’s a dark comedy, not a message film. I recommend it.”(read full review)

Other movie reviews by Kate

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