The Joneses romps through guerilla marketing and true romantic yearning. The lightweight indie dramedy is Derrick Borte’s directorial debut.
Moore, Duchovny as slick couple
David Duchovny and Demi Moore play Steve and Kate Jones, a virtual husband and wife. As they move into a suburban mansion, you learn that they not really a couple.
The Joneses are actors, an upscale marketing team impersonating a family. Every time the doorbell rings, they’re onstage.
Kate manages the roost
As mother/onsite manager, Kate monitors her group’s individual sales and coaches them like a fervent soccer mom. Hubby Steve and teenagers Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) and Jenn (Amber Heard) market clothes and alcoholic drinks as they mingle with new contacts.
At first The Joneses excel, but Steve’s numbers lag. The group’s handler (superb Lauren Hutton) visits on the sponsors’ behalf. Privately she tells Kate that she’s worried about Steve. Kate promises to evoke his best talents.
A former salesman with a conscience, Steve learns quickly with an ulterior motive. He’s really got the hots for his “wife.” Too bad smart, glamorous Kate is all business.
Steve frequents the golf course, applying viral marketing that soon make him the Joneses’ sales front runner. Hutton now meets privately with Steve, luring him with the promise of becoming an “Icon” marketer with special privileges.
Steve gets a conscience
Steve takes advantage of a neighbor going through a midlife crisis, Larry (Gary Cole). It’s not a genuine friendship. Steve will have to face the consequences of toying with impressionable Larry. Glenne Headley plays Larry’s cosmetics-hawking wife Summer.
Aside from a preachy third act, writer-director Borte succeeds with this satire, mostly because of its excellent cast.
Duchovny (The X-Files; Californication) and Moore (The Scarlet Letter; G.I. Jane) are very good. Heard (The Beautiful Ordinary) and Hollingsworth (Heartland) give you food for thought as they look for love while marketing.
Bling not the real thing
The beautiful bling of The Joneses is part of the film’s pleasures. Kate’s kitchen gleams with granite countertops, cherry wood cabinets and a Krups coffee maker. Kate’s Dell laptop is always at the ready.
The Joneses truly shift to high gear when they host a soiree. Every conversation praises the best beer, the best cocktails and the flash frozen sushi.
In satire’s best tradition, the neighbors go along with the show, not even suspecting that the Joneses are playing them. Randy Dinzler co-wrote the script with Borte. (3.5 out of 5 stars)
If you like The Joneses you might enjoy: City Island; Date Night.
The Joneses 2009 / R / 1 hr, 36 min
Cast Overview: David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Amber Heard, Ben Hollingsworth, Gary Cole, Glenne Headly, Lauren Hutton, Chris Williams, Andrew DiPalma
Director: Derrick Borte
Genres: Drama, Indie Drama, Dramedy