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#1 of 6 Matt Hough

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Posted August 11 2010 - 02:01 PM



The Joneses (Blu-ray)
Directed by Derrick Borte

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
Year: 2010
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1   1080p   AVC codec
Running Time: 96 minutes
Rating: R
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish

Region:  A
MSRP:  $ 24.99

Release Date: August 10, 2010

Review Date: August 11, 2010



The Film



In Derrick Borte’s The Joneses, Americans’ preoccupation with materialism is taken to task, but the satire is so weakly conceived and executed that the film emerges limp and listless. The old adage of “keeping up with the Joneses” is approached literally here, but despite a good cast, its points are obvious and its plot turns pure melodramatic claptrap. A potentially keen swipe at our national consumer mania is botched by a toothless script and mundane direction.


The Joneses move into a posh upper middle class suburban neighborhood and impress everyone with their style and class. Mom Kate (Demi Moore) has the latest designer duds, dad Steve (David Duchovny) plays a mean game of golf with his amazing new clubs, daughter Jenn (Amber Heard) and son Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) dazzle the kids at their school with their terrific electronic toys and upper tier clothes, shoes, and notions. But beneath this perfect family lies a surprising secret: they’re not a family; they’re shill artists hawking the latest commercial gear to every person they can come into contact with to impress. And it works. Within the first month, everyone shows double digit gains in marketing except for father Steve who is told to shape up his act or a “new dad” will replace him. Steve has a problem, however: he’s falling for the woman masquerading as his wife, and he’s really ready to nest with her and make a real family. Kate, though, is a goal oriented professional who’s only interested in attaining icon status within the company which will get her even higher end clients in an even more exclusive neighborhood.


The speed in which the Joneses hook their quarry is meant to be a red flag to viewers about falling for the lure of low pressure merchandizing. The trouble is that we already know how credit card debt is one of America’s most serious problems, and yet the film seems to think viewers are going to be shocked by these revelations. As the Joneses’ neighbors (Gary Cole, Glenne Headly) buy more and more expensive cars, electronics, and furniture in order to keep up with their high-flying neighbors, we understand the tragedy of their mania, but so what? It doesn’t make for good drama. And when writer-director Derrick Borte pulls out a series of third act reversals: the kids both having romance issues, Steve and Kate finally going to bed together, a foreshadowed suicide that’s no shock at all and rather silly, the falling apart of this “perfect family” is no more affecting than flies being hit by an insect zapper.


Demi Moore is picture perfect casting as this variation of a Stepford wife with her dedication to self marketing: all surface emotions with no real emotions underneath. David Duchovny seems to be trying for something a bit more real since he’s continually the odd man out of the foursome, but he only comes across as bland and nondescript. Too bad Ben Hollingsworth and Amber Heard get stuck with really predictable storylines (he’s hiding something about his personal life; she’s hooking up with a married man) because their little bit of screen time shows them to both be interesting actors trapped with colorless material. Gary Cole once again scores in a role beneath his abilities, but Glenne Headly seems oddly reticent with her lines and her reactions, as if she’s always a beat behind. As the company field agent who evaluates each team, Lauren Hutton turns on her stern face and voice to decent effect.



Video Quality



The film’s 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio is presented at 1080p using the AVC codec. Color saturation and flesh tones are the most accurate aspects of this transfer, but overall sharpness varies quite a bit. The inside scenes in the Jones’ big, open, sunny house often soften and flatten the picture with its extreme diffused lighting, but other sequences show a more natural sharpness and dimension. Black levels are above average but not exemplary. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.



Audio Quality



The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix achieves no great distinction with Nick Urta’s unassuming score being the major beneficiary of the front and rear surrounds. Otherwise, very little is done with the soundfield in capturing the ambient sounds of suburban life (golf course, housewarming parties, school locker rooms and playgrounds). The LFE channel gets the night off.



Special Features



The disc has two deleted scenes (neither of much interest) which may be viewed individually or in one smileys/4 ½-minute block. They’re presented in 480i.


The disc presents trailers for Date Night, Just Wright, Fox’s TV dramas, and FX’s TV drama series.



In Conclusion

2/5 (not an average)


Filled with irritating plot holes, uninvolving character revelations, and predictable social satire, The Joneses is pretty much a failure. The Blu-ray presents mediocre video and audio quality and only the barest of bonus material.




Matt Hough

Charlotte, NC

#2 of 6 Adam Gregorich

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Posted August 12 2010 - 07:30 PM

Thanks for the reveiw Matt.  Fox gave us four copies on DVD to give away.  For your chance of winning your own copy of The Joneses on DVD answer the following question in this thread: 


Kate Jones was perfect – almost too perfect, and Demi Moore seems to share her ethereal and ravishing beauty. And from her wild child 80’s years to her marriage to Ashton Kutcher, she’s had quite a career. Other than The Joneses, what’s your favorite Demi Moore project?


4 winners will be randomly chosen to win the DVD.  It may not be easy to keep up the Joneses, but its simple to keep up with Fox Home Entertainment on Twitter.  Just follow @FoxHomeEnt 


EXTRA: Wanna keep up with The Joneses? Join The Joneses sweepstakes!




Grand prize is $4500 in gift cards from Amazon.

#3 of 6 TonyD


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Posted August 13 2010 - 03:59 PM

I really enjoyed her work on General Hospital.

#4 of 6 zackscott5


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Posted August 14 2010 - 01:23 PM

I really liked her in Nothing but Trouble!

Check Out my Webseries "Laserdisc Memories" at  http://www.laserdiscmemories.com

#5 of 6 PatW



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Posted August 15 2010 - 06:53 AM

Of her later work, I enjoyed her performance in Passion of Mind. Caught this one on the movie channel a couple years ago and was surprised how much I liked it.

#6 of 6 Adam Gregorich

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Posted August 24 2010 - 05:03 AM

That was easy!  Tony, Zack and Pat please PM me your addresses and I'll get discs out to you!