DVD review – The Joneses

2011-03-11 13:53

Keeping up with the Joneses is a full-time job for those who place much importance on what you have, and Derrick Borte’s film takes one-upmanship to its most outrageous degree.

DVD
: The Joneses (Ster Kinekor)
Director: Derrick Borte
Featuring: Demi Moore, David Duchovny, Ben Hollingsworth, Amber Heard, Glenn Headley, Gary Cole and Lauren Hutton
Rating: 6/10

What if the perfect family living next door to you in your upper middle-class suburb were not what they seemed?

What if Steve (David Duchovny), Kate (Demi Moore), Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) were employees of a stealth marketing company hellbent on selling the neighbours – everything?

This is the premise of The Joneses, which is an indictment of our consumerist society.

True it’s set in America, but that country’s cultural imperialism around the globe means that its consumerist malaise extends way beyond its borders, reaching into all our lives in one form or another.

Moore’s character is the boss, while Duchovny’s is the newbie and there’s little prize money for guessing the romance angle, but getting there is a shocking exposé of the politics of envy.

The Joneses live next door to the Symondses who just can’t get over how perfect their new neighbours are and a friendly rivalry begins between Steve and Larry Symonds (Gary Cole).

What Larry doesn’t know of course is that the deck is seriously stacked against him and no matter what he buys, Steve will always have one bigger.

The Joneses is not a great film, but it is morbidly fascinating to watch the mad escalation of selling and buying.

Interestingly the makers don’t really offer a solution, they simply hold the mirror up so that we can all see ourselves in it.

It’s not a pretty sight.

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