Monday, August 30, 2010

Episode 707: The Joneses

There are three films out at the moment that I want to see: Heartbreaker (or in the original French, L'arnacœur), which stars Romain Duris from L'auberge Espagnole (that film that made me want to live abroad because it seemed so exotic and cool), Boo Junfeng's first full-length feature, Sandcastle, and The Joneses, which stars Ben Hollingsworth from The Beautiful Life. I've found a copy of L'arnacœur, which I'm going to try and watch without subtitles tomorrow, and I hadn't realised films at Cinema Europa in GV VivoCity were so expensive, so ended up watching The Joneses with Jared at GV Plaza instead. Spoilers coming up! The film's a satire of undercover marketing, in which a fake family, the eponymous Joneses, moves into a suburban neighbourhood and begins to sell an entire lifestyle to their neighbours, mostly revolving around the purchase of more and more luxury goods. As a satire, it's smart, and the early shot of David Duchovny's character eating alone amidst all the gorgeous furniture is a brilliant moment of irony.

Where the film doesn't quite gel for me is when the personal lives of the characters come into play. Ben Hollingsworth's character is a closeted gay, but this is only hinted at once before the big reveal happens later on, in a moment of gaydar-gone-wrong that rings completely false because it's so blatantly contrary to the self-preservation that seems to go hand-in-hand with being closeted. Amber Heard's dalliance with a married man that eventually goes south allows for a beautiful moment when her fake parents suddenly behave like real ones, but apart from that, it's too hastily resolved. Duchovny and Demi Moore's developing relationship is probably the most solid subplot, although its being temporarily derailed by Duchovny's impulse decision to out their status as paid employees because of his neighbour's death feels a bit forced, like it had to happen because the film needed to be zipping along to its heartwarming resolution, so here's the turning point that needs to happen first. The critique of consumption isn't as strong as I would have expected, but hey, this isn't a Michael Moore documentary, so I suppose I shouldn't complain. I think it's terrible of me that my greatest takeaway from the film was how much I would have loved having their job. Didn't help that I was wearing one of my favourite Diesel jeans (the black pair) and those awesome white Diesel shoes, so I was like some walking billboard for the brand today. Discreet (because that's how I roll), but still...

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