Monday, 26 April 2010
REVIEW: The Joneses
When people review things in general, I think its a balance of two things. Your immediate gut reaction and your thought out reasoning as to why this was so. But the problem is that the reasoning part seems to exist only to justify the emotional reaction, so reviews rarely end up actually exploring the rights and wrongs of a film, and become essays on the pre-emptive defensiveness of the reviewer in question
I say this because the Joneses was a film that frustrated me a lot. I liked its central idea, of a viral marketing family, embedded in a rich community to set consumer trends and subliminally manipulate their neighbors into buying shit they don't need. As a satire its a fairly nifty concept, so naturally when I saw what the film actually was, it pissed me off Every time it should have been awesome, and every time it should have been clever it was simple. I was already to rip the shit out of it, for having no balls and being a sugar-coated misfire. Surely the point of satirizing consumerism, is to show how horribly shallow, empty and lonely the lifestyle is. But David Duchovny and Demi Moore fall in love so none of that matters, even though they essentially got a guy to kill himself.
But I think my problem with this film was that it should have been better, and my rage perhaps came from being deprived the version of this film I wanted, but truth be told this film isn't that bad. Its occasionally funny, well put together and sporadically well acted. Duchovny is perfect for his role, bringing his customary adorable smarm, and while he is no doubt coasting, he's a guy I'm happy to watch coast. Demi Moore however, its a bit too much of a blank canvas for what should have been the most interesting role in the movie, matriarch of the corporate 'family'. And quite frankly appears to ave the substance of a person who would choose to spend the rest of their life with Ashton Kutcher. She looks the part to be sure, but that role ended up a wasted opportunity, like much in this movie. But amidst the blandness were a couple of moments that landed, the Gary Cole character worked quite well for me, as the tragic figure/sucker whose story one has to ignore in order to buy the tacked on happy ending. Amber Heard' Boobs show up for a bit (cheap google hits here I come) without really adding anything but a pleasant distraction. This girl is becoming Hollywood's go to ho.
The Joneses is an OK movie I guess for what it wanted to be, but the movie I wanted it to be probably got lost around the fifth test screening. Oh well, its not like any of y'all are going to see it anyway.