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Movie Review: The Joneses

I should know better than to watch a movie Daniel Carlson at Pajiba tells me is terrible. He’s never steered me wrong yet. The idea of The Joneses was so intriguing, however, I threw caution to the wind and watched it on Netflix instant. I want my 95 minutes back.

The premise is right there in the trailer: fake family acts as marketing tools to entice rich people to buy expensive shit. In the actual movie, it takes 15 minutes to reveal the Joneses’ secret, and it does it in the creepiest way possible. On their first night in their new (sprawling, spectacular, full of glass stuff and portraits of themselves) home, Mr. Jones (David Duchovny) and Mrs. J0nes (Demi Moore) are sleeping in separate bedrooms. Daughter Jones hops in bed with Mr. Jones and tries to seduce him before Mrs. Jones drags her up the stairs naked.

So there are boobs, if that’s something you look for in a movie.

So now we know what we probably knew before we decided to watch this movie to begin with.

The Joneses make themselves at home by showing off their fancy Audi cars, running shoes, golf clubs, watches, skateboards, and perfume to all their new neighbors and the kids’ new friends at school. One month into their assignment, Lauren Hutton swings by to talk about numbers. Steve (Mr. Jones) is excited by his returns until he sees the rest of the family has significantly outsold him. Lauren Hutton asks Mrs. Jones if Steve is up for the task, and Mrs. Jones agrees to light a fire under him and bring up his sales. This is her first assignment as Head of Unit, and she’s hoping to advance even further in the company.

Chagrined, Steve steps up his tactics and ends up outselling the rest of the family, leading Lauren Hutton to praise him and tell him he’s on the path to something called Icon Status, which is apparently the shit. I’m not sure what that gets stealth families, unless it’s living in an actual gold house and convincing their neighbors to buy platinum toilet paper.

Along the way, we meet the Joneses’ neighbors, Gary Cole and Glenn Headley. Gary Cole is in banking (?), and Glenn Headley is a stereotypical bitch. I normally really like both of these actors, but I didn’t find the characters real or complex.

The movie is trying to be satire, and when it swings for satire, it does a pretty good job. There are some bitingly funny bits of dialogue, and both Duchovney and Moore are outstanding in the funnier parts of the movie. About two-thirds of the way through, the movie decides it wants to be something else, and that’s where it all goes to hell.

It’s hard to criticize why it went wrong without spoiling the movie, but I think it boils down to laziness. I think the writer got stuck and backed out of the corner on a riding lawn mower.

I bet this movie was cheap as hell to make, because I’m pretty sure about 100 brands are featured here. The product placement isn’t as bad as Bones’ self-parking car, but it’s close.

I’ve learned my lesson and know never to doubt the Pajiba again. Check out their review of The Joneses here.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

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