Film Review: THE JONESES

Directed by Derrick Borte
Written by Derrick Borte, Randy T Dizzler
Starring: David Duchovy, Demi Moore, Gary Cole, Glenne Headlym Amber Heard, Ben Hollingsworth
Running time 96 minutes
Release: April 9, 2010

Director Derrick Borte apparently spent some time in the advertising business and knows the lengths it will go to in selling products for customers. Here we have an all-American family settling into a McMansion in a very affluent suburb. At first I was reminded of “The Riches,” but unfortunately it’s not nearly as wacky or subversive as Cable television fare, which is increasingly a problem for movies. Shows like Treme, Justified, Mad Men, Men of a Certain Age and so on are undercutting movies such as THE JONSES by being smarter, edgier, fresher.

PLOT: The Joneses move into a new house in a new neighborhood and immediately begin impressing their neighbors with just how cool they are. They dress better, drive nicer cars, have better running outfits, and sports equipment. They look pretty darn good, too. Soon this charismatic foursome is influencing consumer purchases in their new town. Eventually this has repercussions for their neighbors and themselves.

SPOILER ALERT-The Joneses are a family for hire, in effect. A marketing unit put together to influence their neighbors and sell products their agency is hired to sell. This sounds subversive, and it is, but not nearly subversive enough. (Twenty years ago, style watchers followed “early adapters” at the high school my children attended to see what styles they’d influenced. I guess it took marketers this long to catch on to it).

This movie played like a crime story without a real crime. (It also played like one long commercial for Audis and golf clubs). The Joneses were not a real family, but where’s the crime in that? (I have one of those families living next door to me). And, of course, this was basically a romance by the film’s end, the only tension being whether Mr. and Mrs. Jones would become more than a marriage in name only and whether they would ditch their jobs. David Duchovy continues to show his limitations as an actor. The wink and a nod are getting tiresome. And Demi Moore continues to play an automaton. A real disappointment.

Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.