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Joneses, The


Stars: Demi Moore, David Duchovny, Amber Heard, Ben Hollingsworth, Gary Cole, Glenne Headley, Lauren Hutton

Director: Derrick Borte

It's hard to keep up with these Joneses, as their new neighbours find out to their cost. Good-looking Kate (Moore) and Steve (Duchovny), with their beautiful teenage kids Jenn (Heard) and Mick (Hollingsworth) have an affluent lifestyle and a gorgeous mansion-style home. Yet there's something amiss: Kate and Steve don't eat together, for a start, let alone sleep together.

Yet they seem so successful that the world wants to copy them. And that's the idea. For the Joneses, as a unit, are into stealth-marketing. As a family 'cell'/sell, they insidiously get all their new friends to spend thousands.

But the picture darkens, and the film, purposely, becomes less fun. Ben comes out as gay, but picks the wrong guy in propositioning his 'girlfriend's brother. And Jenn has her heart broken in an affair with a married man.

Their selling success rates, however, soar, to the delight of their overseer (Hutton). But people get in beyond their means (you wonder why this hasn't happened in Kate's 'cells' before), notably next-door neighbour Larry (Cole).

These people, and their friends, are unreal, but, hey, this is America, so who knows. The first half of the movie's entertaining, but it hits the buffers a bit when seriousness and tragedy cloud the issue. Better to have stuck to the lighter touch. Moore and Duchovny play off each other with easy, relaxed charm: they're definitely the best things in the film and keep it afloat.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Entertainment . Colour by Alpha Cine.
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Apr 2010