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FROM VANITY FAIR: As you read this, you’ve probably learned to tune out any advertisements along the perimeter of your computer screen. So many of us are inundated by advertising nearly everywhere we go these days that we’ve become fairly adept at recognizing it, and deciding in the blink of an eye what’s important and what we can ignore. If we took every word and image offered to us at face value and assigned it equal importance we might go crazy, and surely and quickly go broke. Marketers are aware of our growing ability to tune out though, and as we become more adept at doing so, they become more adept at finding ways to subvert our “Ad-dar.”
First-time director Derrick Borte toys with these ideas in his upcoming film The Joneses (April 16). Into the tony suburbs moves a family of beautiful people, the Joneses (David Duchovny and Demi Moore as Mr. and Mrs. Jones, accompanied by Ben Hollingsworth and Amber Heard as their teenage son and daughter). Fun to look at, fun to be around, the Jones family is a well-oiled machine of self-possession—and actual possession. They quickly befriend the neighbors, and send a ripple that reaches the more moneyed fringes of the community. It’s contagious. People are drawn to them, and to the seemingly endless river of fantastic material goods that flows freely through their hands, house, and yard. It isn’t long before the inevitable happens, and everyone is literally doing their best to keep up with the Joneses.
The 411: Writer and Director Derrick Borte brings us a family movie with a twist starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny. They all seem like a pretty normal all-American family, with their kids played by Amber Heard and American newcomer Ben Hollingsworth. But looks can be deceiving and they all have a few tricks up their sleeves that will help them in their mission but also destroy one of them.
The Good: This is one of the most original movies that I have ever had the pleasure to watch! It’s an original idea with a normal setup where you fall for the main character. It also added something that I personally have never experienced in a movie before. That would be to feel — for real — for the secondary characters. Then, hidden in this non-family film, comes a plot point that wasn’t expected but will surprise a few people.
The Bad: It’s a movie that doesn’t hide trying to be an advertisement for products, such as Audi cars, as you see their logo on the cars that the family drives as well as those of other characters later on in the movie. I really didn’t see the point in Amber Heard’s topless scene. I saw it as just a way to see her nude.
The Last Word: This has the most original plot and story of any movie right now and it is a breath of fresh air to see something new.
Theater, DVD, or Cable: I would recommend that you see the matinee screening.
A brash satire on all-American consumerism, The Joneses takes a smart idea and develops it into an entertaining, modern morality tale. There is an obvious conclusion that the accumulation of material goods does not guarantee happiness and the preachy ending grows a little soft around the edges. Neither David Duchovny nor Demi Moore have a strong box-office track record in recent years but positive reviews for their performances and the film’s exploitable zeitgeist vibe should provide the elements of a successful theatrical release for this enjoyable, thought-provoking fare.
The Joneses begins as a family of four move into a palatial suburban mansion that appears to have stepped straight from the pages of a Sunday supplement. Mom Kate (Demi Moore) and dad Steve (David Duchovny) ooze wealth, happiness and the dream lifestyle.
Their children Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) and Jen (Amber Heard) are no less perfect but it soon becomes clear that this is all too good to be true. Kate and Steve don’t eat together or sleep together and Jen’s behaviour towards her father is not that of a normal daughter.
TORONTO — A self-satisfied satire about a quartet of salespeople posing as your average affluent American family, “The Joneses” certainly had a workable premise at its disposal.
But in the hands of first-time writer-director Derrick Borte, what could have been a biting black comedy taking product placement to the logical extreme instead is so obviously predictable that even a savvy cast led by David Duchovny and Demi Moore can’t sell it.
Emerging from the Toronto International Film Festival without a domestic-distribution deal, the film can’t help but draw comparisons to “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” another ill-timed comedy about raging consumerism that few found funny given the current economic climate.
From the get-go, there’s something a little too perfect about the Joneses, the attractive, confident brood that recently moved into their fabulously furnished home in a decidedly upscale suburb.
As it turns out, Steve (Duchovny), Kate (Moore) and their teenaged kids, Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth), aren’t a real family at all but a grouping of slick shills assembled by boss Lauren Hutton with the intention of getting the neighbors to lust after their cool stuff.
They would include the highly acquisitive Larry (Gary Cole) and his wife (Glenne Headly), who turn out to be seriously overextended as it is, and you don’t need a sales manual to see where things are headed.
Borte, who comes from the world of commercials, signals every intended plot twist and turn so far in advance, it’s way too easy to keep up with “The Joneses.” One expects a subliminal message of some sort, but it’s all on the surface.
It still works up to a point, largely because of the persuasive qualities of its cast, notably Duchovny’s raffish charm and Moore’s spirited hustle, which in tandem generates a palpable chemistry.
Or maybe that’s just what they wanted you to think.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
From The LA Times:
In some ways, it’s difficult to tell who is more sex obsessed: David Duchovny, or the rest of us.
The 48-year-old actor issued a statement in August, saying through his lawyer that he’d voluntarily entered a facility for the treatment of sex addiction, and asked for “respect and privacy” as he and his family dealt with the issue. Then again, you already know this by now, because we in the media (and, admit it, you at home) bypassed the whole respecting-his-privacy bit and ran with this story like dogs with a bone.
It was too easy, after all. Duchovny had by this time gained much notoriety –- and a Golden Globe -– for his portrayal of Hank Moody in “Californication,” the Showtime series about a writer who happens to have lots and lots … and lots … of sex. And so it came to be, all of us thinking about it, talking about it, sending it to each other via texts and e-mails that read something to the effect of, “Have you heard!?” The phrase “life imitates art” shot out of us like a tick. News features asking, “What is sex addiction?” followed.