Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Joneses

The old expression is that you shouldn't try to "Keep up with the Joneses."  In the movie "The Joneses," however, a "stealth marketing" firm hopes that you will.  In lieu of traditional advertising or even "viral marketing" like using YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, they go a step farther by planting a group of actors in an affluent neighborhood and setting them up with all sorts of trendy goods to plug.

The "family" is aptly named the Joneses.  The movie begins when they arrive in a gated community in their new Audi and wearing fancy new clothes and so forth.  Patriarch Steve (David Duchovny) is new to the game.  His "wife" Kate (Demi Moore, looking hotter than she ever has before) is the old pro and Steve's boss.  Their two teenaged "children" Nick and Jen are also old hands at this.  (What I wondered is why they have two teenagers and not younger children.  Shouldn't they have like 3-4 kids to hit on every age group?  That probably would have been too messy in terms of the story.)

Basically how it works is that for a year the Jones clan pretend to be a family and show off all their high end goods to convince the people around them to buy that stuff.  Nick and Jen infiltrate the local high school while Kate targets the hairdressers and Steve hits the links at the country club.  By virtue that they all are very attractive and friendly and have really neat stuff, slowly everyone buys what they have and sales for those companies go up.  They even have a "grandma" who stops by on occasion to break down numbers with them.

But soon things begin to unravel for the Joneses.  Steve has trouble adapting to the concept of being a family while not being a family--he sleeps in a separate bedroom from Kate.  She struggles with her feelings for Steve and that he starts to outperform her in the sales department.  Nick has issues with a girl named Naomi whom he befriends--and her brother.  And Jen has a problem in being attracted to older men, which includes Steve early on.  There's also the problem of their neighbors Larry and Summer, who do try to keep up with the Joneses, much to their detriment.

I really liked this movie.  It never seemed to drag throughout its 90 minute running time.  The idea of rampant consumerism and our need to compete with each other is a good one, especially at this time of year with back to school sales followed by the XMas shopping season, which seems to go on forever anymore.  But more than that, there's also a lesson on the meaning of family.  While the Jones "family" starts off as a group of actors, by the end they start bonding like a real family.

So overall it's a fun movie and the kind that makes you think a little too.  (And did I mention that Demi Moore looks really hot?  And her "daughter" ain't hard on the eyes either.  Yowza!)

That is all.

My score:  75/100 (3 stars)
Metacritic score:  55/100 (2 stars)

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