Director Derrick Borte has assembled one of the greatest casts of characters in modern memory. The actors may not have the prestigious reputations of Jessica Alba and Gerard Butler but together they are a cohesive unit (pun intended moviegoers) that make this movie special. Four strangers unconnected by anything other than their employer are put together in a mansion in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in America with one goal: To Sell Everything To Everyone. This can be accomplished by being a convincing family/team. David Duchovny is the handsome father Steve Jones, Demi Moore is the milfy mother Kate Jones, the lovely Amber Heard (Never Back Down) is Jenn Jones and Ben Hollingsworth is Mick Jones. Duchovny and Moore look like they belong together not only on screen but in real life. They are more similar as actors than I had realized. They mesh perfectly together like a hermit crab and its new shell.
Steve Jones is a former car salesman turned corporate sponsor. Along with his newly paired counterfeit family, Steve is given the job or promoting the most expensive and alluring new products. What is the best way to compel wealthy people to purchase new products? Befriend them and make them mad with envy. The envious will spare no object, and pay any price to possess what their friends and enemies have. It is no accident the Joneses have been placed in the middle of affluent suburbia. Steve is a decent human being who is at all times uncomfortable with his relationships starting under false pretenses. Nonetheless, it is his job to befriend his neighbors, rich country club members, and to make new acquaintances to compel them to buy new cars like his 100K Audi, or his enormous flat screen television, beautiful home, golf clubs, and the list continues. Veteran Gary Cole plays Steve’s neighbor and new best friend. Cole’s wife is an aging woman terrified of financial ruin. Little do they know their new neighbor who is inviting them to buy fancy products with the promise of happiness as a reward is doing so at the expense of their very way of life.
Slowly but surely Steve falls in love with his pseudo wife Kate. Together Duchovny and Moore are magic. Their romance scenes look like two longtime lovers who have never lost their mutual passion. It is straight out of the 80s when real love seemed possible, even though it is all fake! Kate has already moved many times and taken on many new "husbands" as the job has required. She is talented at what she does (conning people out of their money). Her goal is to become sales royalty by increasing her sales numbers with every new project. Living in a mansion with the most expensive jewelry and cars cannot hurt one bit, even if only temporary.
At first every member of the Jones family is beating Steve’s numbers of a meager 3.5% increase (to which Duchovny yells "booyah" and I laughed excessively). Once he settles in and understands the game, Steve begins defeating Kate and trouble brews. Kate throws lavish parties and shows off her earrings, kitchen ware, frozen gourmet T.V. dinners, shoes, purses, and the list is endless. She draws people in to her inner circle and teases them with what appears to be the good life, all sex, glitz and glamour. The real question throughout is whether she is a closet romantic who can fall in love, or a greedy saleswoman devoted only to her job.
I apologize ahead of time for offending anyone but I have to say what is on every red-blooded man’s mind in America: Amber Heard has epic breasts. As Jenn Jones she makes us laugh and cry because we always know what will happen with her. Jenn is tasked with selling teen products to classmates and their parents. Unfortunately, she falls in love with an older married man who calls himself "The Hammer". Despite being a pathetic lover Jenn is addicted to the idea of being cared about and loved, no matter how tenuous that affection may be. As a sales girl she is fantastic and is not afraid to showcase her inner and outer beauty!
Ben Hollingsworth is a relative newcomer on the acting scene. As Mick Jones he steals the show. Clearly he is not 18 like he is supposed to be by attending high school with rich yuppies, but "Beverly Hills 90210" proved even a 25 year old can act 18 with the right makeup. Ben’s thick beard kind of gives it away but hey, he is so terrific we need to overlook that. Mick sells 3D video games, and dozens of other products wealthy teenage boys crave. He is the coolest "kid" in school and he has everything they want and for that matter can afford! He ostensibly falls in love with outcast classmate Naomi (Christine Evangelista). We come to find out the reason he feels like a pariah himself is he is gay and in the closet. This changes after a car racing mini drama that will impress everyone. Hollingsworth is the actor who demonstrates the greatest ability to care for others and he is versatile in this role.
I cannot recollect feeling more overwhelmingly charmed and connected to a picture than I did with The Joneses. It is a priceless exposition of the American dream gone too far, too fast, and with too many foolish victims. At once it is hilarious, charming, dramatic and yet cautionary. Nothing is left out, there are no dull moments and even a bathroom break will leave audiences regretful for having weak bladders. Although none of the characters get to keep their extraordinary toys (consumer products), it sure must have been nice to play with them at least for a while. While it may not be better to have loved once than to never have loved at all, it sure as hell would be better to drive a 100K Audi and to live in a 20 bedroom mansion once than to never do it at all! Outstanding show folks, a must see for the whole family.
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