The Joneses 

For a while, at least, a pitch-black (and, therefore, pitch-perfect) tale of our times: Four business partners masquerade as a happy family and move into suburbia and sell their friends and neighbors (that is, contacts and customers) on their early-adopting, newer-than-brand-new layaway lifestyle. David Duchovny, Demi Moore, Amber Heard and Ben Hollingsworth are the client-sponsored grifters; they bait their prey with the latest and greatest gadgets and flash-frozen sushi rolls fresh off the assembly line. But, sadly, the audience is conned most of all. What plays hard and dark for the film's first half goes squishy and blindingly bright as calamity and then outright tragedy lead to the saw-it-coming resolution that writer-director Derrick Borte thinks is more sincere than it actually plays. Duchovny is alternately (and suitably) confident and befuddled as the ex-car salesman newly hired to play "Dad." Moore is the boss of the crew, out to make numbers and not friends, and is as icy as the Pomtinis she's pushing on commission. And the "kids" — one a closeted gay and the other slutty — aren't dopes. But, for whatever reason, the movie goes soft. Business turns to pleasure turns to hurt, and the moral to the story becomes the story. Shrug. Still, there's Gary Cole as the next-door neighbor who buys the sales pitch he can't afford. That's recommendation enough.

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