I can't think of a movie more appropriate for the economic nightmare we're living in than 'The Joneses.' Taking on the touchy subject of the accumulation of wealth and stuff, 'The Joneses,' with its dark humor, shows us what could happen if we always try to keep up with what other people have.
If ever there was a movie that allowed for acceptably blatant product placement, this is it. Every new gadget and gizmo is presented. Sleek new cars, sweet golf clubs, and sexy name brand clothes take center stage in this movie about the excesses we drive ourselves towards.
The Joneses aren't your typical family. As a matter of fact, they aren't a family at all. They've moved into a new McMansion, in a neighborhood where the average income is 100 grand a year. Their job is to take everyone's money. No they aren't a family of criminals, although what they do seems criminal, they're a stealth marketing team masquerading as a family in order to sell the latest and greatest products to each and every sucker living in their city. It's one thing to have a commercial tell you that a product is cool and you must have it, it's an entirely different thing for a friend of yours tell you that a product is indispensable.
Steve (David Duchovny) is new to the job and has been hired by Kate (Demi Moore) to play her husband. Together, with their two make believe kids, Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth), the Joneses set about selling the lifestyle they're living. They cruise around town in the nicest cars, they watch movies on the most up to date entertainment systems, and they even peddle food products like flash frozen sushi during parties. The catch is that their "friends" never know they're being marketed to.
'The Joneses,' playing on the old saying about "keeping up," slyly jabs at our human instinct to want, want, want what the other guys already has. People are going into debt nowadays for things that seem so frivolous, but in the end, trouble with finances can leads to divorce, bankruptcy, and worse...
What scared me while watching 'The Joneses' is that I could actually picture, as silly as it sounds, giant corporations trying to pull this kind of wool over people's eyes with these stealth marketing families. One more way to advertise their product, but where do we draw the line?
I liked 'The Joneses,' even if it does have a sort of sappy quality. The message here applies to anyone living through our tough economic climate. There's always some new and exciting product just around the corner, but sometimes trying to keep up, may end up putting us much further behind.
The 1080p transfer of 'The Joneses' is a warm affectionate visual presentation, but it never enters the demo-worthy territory.
Detail is strong during close-ups and darker scenes (yes, Amber Heard does get naked again, and even though it's during a dimly lit scene, all the important areas are visible). During the daytime however, the diffused lighting during the house interior scenes wreaks havoc on fine detail. The picture becomes soft as the light halos around the windows, bleeding into the picture, and causing facial tones to become almost ghost white in the process. The warm palette of the film is accurately represented, with black being dark and revealing.
It's expected that a movie like 'The Joneses' would have never presented an amazing video presentation, but after seeing this movie in theaters when it was released, I can say that this is indeed an accurate presentation.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix provided by Fox, like the video, provides us with an adequate, but ultimately underwhelming presentation.
The movie is dialogue heavy so it's a great thing that the dialogue comes through clearly. The surrounds are oddly silent though, which was unsettling. There are plenty of times like parties, girls locker rooms, dinners at crowded restaurants, or events with people milling about that could have created an engaging surround sound atmosphere. Instead, ambient sound underachieves. LFE is another casualty, which lightly engages itself during some of the musical soundtrack, but other than that, it's nonexistent.
'The Joneses' is a fun and at times poignant comedy about the economic realities we're facing, and the human need to accumulate stuff, even if we can't afford it. David Duchovny is great in it (even if I am a little biased. Hank Moody all the way!). The video and audio are slightly above average, but nothing that will make you jump off your couch in excitement. The "special" features are downright insulting. I really like this film, and want people to see it, but can only recommend you rent this one because of the how this disc turned out.