Joneses, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Demi Moore, David Duchovny, Gary Cole, Lauren Hutton, Glenne Headly. Comedy/drama. Written & directed by Derrick Borte.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Demi Moore and David Duchovny star as a seemingly perfect couple who, along with their equally perfect teenagers – Amber Heard (Zombieland, Pineapple Express) and Ben Hollingsworth (The Beautiful Life) – move into an upscale gated community.  The Joneses have better goods and game than any other family in town.  The only problem is they’re not a family – they are employees of a stealth marketing organization, and they know how to make everyone else want what they’ve got.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Far from being a satire in the league with Dr. Strangelove or Thank You For Smoking, The Joneses does somewhat resemble satirical farce in that it ultimately knocks consumerism for consumerism’s sake. Trouble is, there’s no punch. We don’t leave the theater with disgust for materialism or the folks who badger us into buying what we don’t need or can’t afford. Rather, we leave salivating over the new Mercedes Roadster. Still, the film has a clever premise and solid performances.

After the outing of the scandalous behavior by the corporate crooks who ran Enron (you should see the film The Smartest Guys in the Room), and the discovery of malfeasance on the part of Bernie Madoff (what a sweetheart he is), it hits home that there are people who will do anything to us in order to get our dough. So, it is conceivable that a group of people would disguise themselves as friendly and concerned neighbors in order to fleece us. That part I bought. The part where the male lead grows a conscience, realizing that true riches are found in family, not possessions, that I also bought. The part where he develops a love for the hardnosed Demi Moore character, that was a bit more problematic for me. That said, there are moments where she does let down her tough-as-nails, no-nonsense guard, where we are allowed to see a softer side. So, I guess I can see the possible attraction. And after all, she does look like, well, Demi Moore (my goodness, that woman must do nothing but work out).

Most of the film is witty, occasionally insightful, and fun to look at (did I mention Demi Moore?). Generally, the filmmakers avoid crudity and objectionable material, but they do give us a few doses of cussing and a couple of sexual situations, and, sorry to mention, a visual of the teenaged daughter slipping into bed with daddy (we quickly discover that she’s not a teenager, and he isn’t really her daddy). Please read the content section.

Keep in mind that my praise for the creativity shown by the filmmakers should not be misconstrued as an endorsement of the film. Again, read the content section to see if this movie is appropriate for your family.

Most films parodying those who get ahead at the expense of others are generally filled with objectionable material (Up in the Air being the most recent example). If you want to see a film that really knows how to send up a subject (in the case of my DVD alternative suggestion, war), rent Dr. Strangelove. It contains no graphic sexual situations, nor any profanity, just witty dialogue and a remarkable cast. And this is not meant as a anti-war protest on my part. There is a time for war. My support of the film is due to its artistry.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Roadside Attractions

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A few coarse comments concerning sex.

Obscene Language: Around ten obscenities, mostly the f- and s-words.

Profanity: One profane use of God’s name, spoken in anger.

Violence: We see a car crash; a teen boy hits another several times. Blood: A bloodied nose

Sex: Three sexual situations, not graphic, but have to do with a supposedly teenaged girl who has relationships with older men; the lead couple are not married, but eventually sleep together; we see them in bed.

Nudity: Brief, when the “teen” girl tries to get in bed with her “dad".

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Lots of drinking, some smoking and two teens do pot; underage drinking in one scene.

Other: None

Running Time: 93 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and above

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