Director: Derrick Borte
Cast: David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Amber Heard, Gary Cole, Ben Hollingsworth
Meet Steve Jones (Duchovny). He's a charming, handsome man with a flashy car. His flashy wife, Kate (Moore), is equally glamorous with designer clothes and the latest in running gear. Their kids, too, are drenched in money - Mick (Hollingsworth) owns all the shiniest gadgets and Jenn (Heard) shows off her sexy lipstick at school. Together, The Joneses live in their luxury house. They are a model family. They have everything. They buy nothing. And they get paid by commission.
"We're going to do some damage here," declares Steve at the start of the film, rolling up the drive to their brand new home. And indeed they do. Carving out popular niches in the local community, it's not long before the neighbours are hanging on their every purchase - a living sham of product placement, whatever The Joneses have, they want.
But as percentages rise, so do the screenplay's morals. As the film's chief source of irony, Duchovny soon displays doubts about his chosen career path. Is it right to prey on society's greed? Moore doesn't care - she does a wonderful job as the formidable and determined saleswoman, holding together a household of moderate supporting roles; both young actors are decent enough, but their storylines aren't brilliant (Amber Heard has the somewhat shallow part of sex-crazed teen with a taste for older men).
Still, the surface sheen has a certain style that the cast channel perfectly. The problem is the syrupy ending that debut writer/director Derrick Borte dunks it all in. What starts off as a blunt, effective satire on consumerism sadly becomes a bit too sentimental. Which then jeopardises the romantic spark between Moore and Duchovny. They make a good couple, but it works better when they're pulling profit margins, not heart strings.
Shot through with witty takes on the advertising media (which Borte knows well), The Joneses starts off with a strong level of ambiguity. A darkly comic look at the American Dream, it's a nice cinematic companion to Mad Men. But for all of Duchovny's crinkly charisma, his character is no Don Draper.
A biting satire with too much heart, The Joneses loses some of its teeth. Easy to buy into, even if it does sell out.