The Joneses

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Joneses Movie Poster Image
Teen sex, drugs, drinking pop up in satire on materialism.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It’s simple, really: Things won’t make you happy. They can even make you downright miserable. Still, there’s a reason why spending to get them is so alluring. But there’s a bigger price to pay than what’s on the receipt; and behind every product is a salesperson who cares not a whit about what happens to you if you buy more than you can afford.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Joneses are seen as role models in the movie, and yet clearly they’re flawed and, more important, happily so. (They sure do make the pursuit of products look so good.) Others covet what they have and make spending decisions accordingly. Teenagers drink and drive drunk, and hold in high regard those who have the latest and greatest (just like their parents). Many of them suffer the consequences, and the downsides of their seemingly perfect lifestyles are unmasked.

Violence

A teenager punches another guy who makes a pass at him and yells out a homophobic slur. A couple argues loudly. A character commits suicide by drowning himself.

Sex

A teenager is seen quickly getting into the bed of an older man naked, though the audience doesn’t get a glimpse of anything else but her breasts (and only briefly at that). She is also shown under covers with her shoulders bared, making out with another, also older, man. They’re also heard moaning off-camera. A couple kisses passionately a few times. Some sexual innuendos.

Language

Some strong language, including “bitch,” “s--t,” "ass" and "f--k.” Also, one "Goddamn."

Consumerism

Where to start? The film is laden with labels, everything from Van Cleef and Arpels, Audi, MBT sneakers, Dell, YSL, Style.com, and even a toilet named Toto. Many logos are visible, many products name-checked. The movie is practically the Home Shopping Network. But all this is intended to poke fun at our cultural obsessions with products like these.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking; teens imbibe alcohol at a party and drive while loaded; teen pot-smoking and diet pill overuse.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this worthy satire pokes fun at materialism while making it look very tantalizing in the process (thanks to a load of product placement throughout the film). One of the teen girl characters is sexually intimate with at least two older men, and we see her breasts briefly and hear sexual sounds, though no activity appears onscreen. A teen boy kisses another boy before being rebuffed. Teens drink alcohol and drive drunk. There’s some pot-smoking and diet pill-popping, along with a good amount of swearing ("f--k" and "bitch"). Yet the movie has the potential to start some meaningful discussions about materialism and how products are sold to consumers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycubix72 April 28, 2014

The Joneses

This movie was riveting. I was looking on Netflix for a good movie to watch and saw this one. While the description was fairly vague, I decided to try it anyway... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 21, 2011

preety good movie but is dark at times

this movie starts out really fun but then issues start happening in the family the "daughter" wants to get sexually involved with the "father... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 24, 2017

Good, but disappointing

Somebody told my mom to watch this movie because it was awesome. When we started watching it, it was very bad it has many sex scenes and it absolutely not good... Continue reading

What's the story?

They’ve just moved in, and yet it’s already hard to keep up with the Joneses. First, they’re gorgeous. Steve (David Duchovny) is witty and wired with all the latest gadgets, and has a mean golf swing. Kate (Demi Moore) looks half her age, hosts a mean dinner party, and keeps a beautiful home filled with covetable things. Their kids (Amber Heard and Ben Hollingsworth) are stylish and instantly popular at the high school. It’s no surprise then that their next-door neighbors, Larry (Gary Cole) and Summer (Glenne Headly), want to be them. Little do they know, however, that the Joneses are picture-perfect for a reason, and that reason strikes at the heart of every American consumer. They have products to sell, and their role is to make their neighbors buy them.

Is it any good?

How wonderful it is to fall in love with David Duchovny once more; THE JONESES gives him another chance to dazzle with his dry wit and observational stance. As Steve, he leads the audience in this satirical journey into the heart and soul(lessness) of abject consumerism. (Moore is a revelation, too. Finally, she has a part that doesn’t just trade on her looks, even though appearances matter much here.) It’s mostly successful; first-time director Derrick Borte handles the enterprise assuredly, and the supporting cast, especially Cole, adds layers to what could have been a superficial indictment of materialism and advertising. We are living in a material world, indeed.

Nevertheless, a shift in tone near the end, though adding gravity to the proceedings, diminishes the cheeky glee that earlier gives the film such lift. (Think Ocean’s 11.) The Joneses has a message, we understand that, but in making sure it gets delivered, it loses its verve. Must a movie become self-serious in order to make its very true, and very important, point?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the marketing tactic that the Joneses employ: Is it believable? Is it, in fact, happening now to a certain extent?

  • What is marketing, and how does it work in everyday life? What makes consumers want to buy what they do?

  • What are the consequences of overspending? What is its allure considering how destructive it can be?

Movie details

For kids who love edgy comedy

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