“Keeping up with the Joneses” : a movie review

Have u ever bought something only after your co-worker shows it off in the office?

Have you ever bought a gadget after seeing it on a TV commercial that had the cutest chicks, or the coolest guy advertising it?

Have you ever felt outdated because your phone model has a newer version?

A fool and his money are soon parted

If you have, then you are right on point by keeping up with the Joneses. Demi Moore challenges her real life marriage in her portrayal of a nuclear family mom in the film “The Joneses”. This film presents a family who is “just perfect”. The Joneses have it all; from the bigest wedding ring (that diamond was so heavy you can never see it straight on Demi’s finger) to the lawnmower with an integrated TV.  This front is pretty steady but when the lights go down the Joneses aren’t all that perfect; the make beleive fary tale turns into an empty department store (along with the eco of an empty warehouse). The love just isn’t there.

This nuclear family is all but nuclear; mom is (literally) the boss, dad is clueless and the children are, well, not that childish. The Joneses live to throw parties just to show off their goodies to their neighbors. They are all about the Benjamin-s to the point were the characters themselves are for sale ; “Who’s your favorite toy?” asks mom.

When Demi’s character says to her make-beleive hubbie “Everyone’s drinking your cool-aid” we catch a hint of the desperate attempts on behalf of the neighbors to buy everything they can and feel like the Joneses. The neighbors are swallowing that aid to be cool so fast they choke. In fact, their next door neighbor drinks so much “cool-aid” that his credit cards begin to bounce and his house payments are three months late.

Even the Jonases themselves begin to drink their own cool-aid; when at one point dad coments “Who’s acting, i love this car”. As the film develops we see how little by little the fake family front begins to fade and “real life” events turn the “unit” into a real family. Love, crisis and deceit lurk in, showing viewers that the perfect family is human after all.

“A fool and his money are soon parted” is sung in the background when all is falling apart for this family, leaving the spectator to look beyond their personal goals and illusions. As I see it this film is not about the fake Joneses, who get paid to promote their gadgets, perfumes and frozen sushi, but about the real Joneses; those real world fools with money who can’t stop showing off their toys to others.

This film is about that consumer inside all of us who’s cancer grows with each unnecessary purchase, with each credit-card limit reached, a cancer that grows in the form of a chain of new cellphones and useless array of designer handbags. This film calls to us- perpetuals of consumerism, slaves of crap hoarding, aficionados of credit-life styles. This film begs us to put a stop on our chronic shopaholism and smell the family that cries beside us and feel the pain of the neighbor who needs us. The Joneses movie is also a call to protest the abuse that companies have sumbited us everytime they feel like adding a simple item to their product and selling a “new and improved” version only a month later.

This film is a reminder that life is something more than what we have because let’s face it “keeping up with the Joneses” is a pointless task. We will never be able to catch up to them; if only die in the attempt.

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