Monday, September 6, 2010

The Joneses (2009)

At a glance:
Consumer culture is skewered in this fabled love story about an unusual family dedicated to getting their acquaintances to buy

Our review (with spoilers):
An affluent suburb in Somewhere, America, has just received a new resident family moving in. Steve and Kate Jones (David Duchovny and Demi Moore) and their two high school aged kids are comely, happy, friendly, and have all the latest clothes, accessories, furnishings, gadgets, and cars – and don’t mind showing them off. They seem to get just a little more chuffed when people they mix with buy the same items they are flaunting. What’s going on here? Is this just normal viral consumerism, or is it something more?

The Joneses’ script relies on one big important secret, and the reveal used to hint at the secret involves the daughter and is quite ingenious – and perverse. And the Joneses success or failure as a film relies on the acquired taste of Duchovny’s underplayed desire for love and family. It works for me, especially when it is balanced by Moore’s similarly underplayed desires. On the surface, she’s all – or mostly – business. But her eyes tell a different story. Both of these people can act. And Duchovny’s easygoing charm perfectly offsets Moore’s slowly eroding ambition.

This latter day Duchovny reminds me more and more of a good friend of mine from my bowling days, Ron Wagner. Ron has the same easygoing charm and nonchalant attitude about almost everything, punctuated by bursts of enthusiasm. Like Duchovny’s Steve Jones, Ron also would have found his enthusiasm stoked by Demi Moore, whose looks and confidence are appealing.

Rating:  3 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Moore looks fabulous in a role that plays to her strengths as a feisty, independent woman, and she generates on-screen heat with Duchovny to make the conventional happy ending easier to swallow."
- Catherine Jones (Liverpool Echo)

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