The Joneses is a pleasant surprise that has the potential to be a sleeper hit. It features a great ensemble cast led by David Duchovny and Demi Moore as “Steve and Kate Jones”, a picture-perfect yuppie couple living a seemingly picture-perfect existence in suburbia USA with their two “teenage” kids, Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth).
The movie begins with the Jones family moving into a gorgeous McMansion that’s pimped out with top-of-the-line merchandise – really cool stuff that all the wealthy neighbors are quick to envy, and buy for themselves.
We soon discover that the Jones family is not a family at all, but rather an undercover “unit” of marketing/sales people whose job it is to stealthily promote everything from cars and golf clubs to clothing, jewelry, hair products, and even high-end toilets.
The movie has an Up In the Air sensibility about it in that it can be alternately humorous, tragic, cynical and hopeful. First-time writer/director Derrick Borte shot the movie in just 31 days and put several alternate endings in the can. The ending that made the final cut is satisfying enough, but I look forward to seeing the other options on DVD someday.
Supporting actors Gary Cole and Summer Headley also shine in this movie, playing the Joneses’ troubled next-door neighbors Larry and Summer.
I don’t want to give too much away about the plot. Moviegoers are left to draw their own conclusions about our culture of consumerism as well as the true meaning of family, happiness and success. That said, there are some really cool – and very real- products in the movie that you’d probably want to get your hands on too if money were no object.
The Joneses is rated R for brief nudity and mild drug use, but there is nothing too gratuitous. The movie has an indie vibe but definitely deserves some mainstream attention. It’s an interesting and enjoyable flick.