The Joneses (2009) starring David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Amber Heard, Ben Hollingsworth, Gary Cole, Glenne Headly, Lauren Hutton directed by Derrick Borte Movie Review

The Joneses (2009)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Ben Hollingsworth, Amber Heard, Demi Moore and David Duchovny in The Joneses (2009)

Sell, Sell, Sell

When I left school many years ago my first of many jobs was in retail and one of the first lessons I was taught is that if a customer comes in and buys only what they came in for it was not a sale, a sale was when you persuaded them to but something extra or something better than what they wanted. That came flooding back to me as I watched "The Joneses" a clever comedy about a manufactured family, put together to sell by creating this false lifestyle and playing on people's desire to keep up with what they had. Maybe that only really appeals to those who have had experience of the retail world where you are guided into having a "sell, sell, sell" mentality because if you don't find this side amusing "The Joneses" ends up an unsurprising comedy as issues within the false family play out in a mostly unsurprising manner.

The Joneses seem the perfect new neighbours; they have two good looking children and have lots of luxury goods from the best golf clubs to the latest high tech gadgets. They are also good friends with everyone, charming who ever they meet and inviting them to theirs for wonderful parties. The thing is no one knows the truth as the Joneses are not a family, they are 4 individuals brought together because they have a talent for selling and by living a certain lifestyle they are boosting the sales for various companies. But whilst they may not be a real family they have to face some real family issues.

Lauren Hutton in The Joneses (2009)

I can see how "The Joneses" could end up being a disappointment to some people because it is not a biting satire on people's need to keep up with the Joneses or how companies sell by portraying a lifestyle. Instead it is a comedy which firstly has fun with an idea of a fake family brought together to subliminally encourage people to buy stuff they wouldn't normally even consider. When we see them role up in front of their new home and asks a man jogging by if he wouldn't mind taking a picture of them, handing him a new top of the range cell phone which he is impressed with it immediately makes you smile. And that continues throughout from Steve Jones working the golf club whilst Kate Jones ambitiously networks the women and establishes herself as a trend setter. Even when we meet their boss and learn not only about the products they have to promote but also the dog eat dog world of social marketing it makes you smile. It is in truth all very clever and whilst for the most it is playful it does deliver a darker shocking twist.

But we then get the other sides to things, from Steve learning the truth of what keeping up with the Joneses can do to people, emotionally and financially. And we also have the family complexity side of things as whilst a fake family really family issues start to encroach on the set up. And that is also amusing from their fake daughter Jenn hitting on Steve to how Steve starts to feels about Kate. It isn't anything great but it works well in conjunction with the fun set up of the commercial family.

The strange thing is that "The Joneses" has a good cast; David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Amber Heard and Gary Cole all put in good performances yet their characters aren't memorable. Maybe that is a good thing; there is no star performance, just a good collection of performances which work well together.

What this all boils down to is that "The Joneses" is a very clever movie and by keeping things for the most playful makes it far easier to watch than those movies which go out to be dark and biting.