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Consumerism as the main status value to the middle class living in a suburb has become one of the main features of many families in the United States. All family members’ roles have altered compared to traditional values that were previously important. People, preoccupied with consuming, became unable to lead normal lives when family members are close people who just share love and care for one another. The notion of home was the last hope to remaining for a nuclear family in order to resist the involvement of consumerism, but it seems that the world inside the home becomes transformed. Consumerism has changed the values of true love and marriage, which became the reason of altering the roles of family members who appreciate consumerism more than their traditional identity in a nuclear family.
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The Joneses seem to be a loving and friendly family, and everyone wants to become close to them. They are kind and good-looking, but it is only a mask because they have nothing to do with the status of a traditional American family. They do not discuss ordinary things with one another because consumerism absorbs all their thoughts and energy. Everything they do is for acquisition’s sake. From the first scenes of the film, one can feel something insincere in their relationships, though nothing special happens. However, they seem to be a market unit and not a family where all members are related to one another. They look more like purely marketing people who care only about products and things than an ordinary family. It looks like they understand something that a viewer does not.
In fact, the Joneses came to an elite American town to represent a happy family of four. However, this family is performing a hidden advertising of luxury goods (The Joneses2009). The hea of the fake family, the failed golfer Steve, is for the first time involved in such campaign. A viewer can think that the Joneses live in a comfortable environment, consuming perfect products that are market innovations. The awareness that they do not have to pay for these products prevents them from staying confiding and honest. To some extent, they lose the sense of reality and the value of money. Their neighbors Summer and Larry always play catch-up with the Joneses because they admire the Joneses and wish to be like them. They think that people like them define the nation. They regret that they will never catch up, though they try to control their tastes trying to adapt them to the Joneses’.
In spite of their consumerism, the Joneses often experience different feelings like in traditional nuclear families. For example, they keep discipline, engage in sex and emotions, etc. However, Kate, played by Demi Moore, seems to be the strongest person in their family. Nobody doubts that she is the family leader, but her decency runs is than Steve’s, who also is a contender for the leading role. First performances of his work seriously differ from the results of other fake relatives. Falling in love with the work-obsessed “wife” Kate, Steve shortly raises their performance to new heights.
Kate and Steve attract people who are around because of their beauty and luxury clothes and everybody wants to be like them. When they arranged a party for their neighbors, Kate, wearing a leopard-print dress with diamond earrings and her long hair let down, gave her husband a kiss bewildering and pleasing him notwithstanding their sham marriage. Their neighbor Larry wants to look like Steve, and begins giving presents to his wife Summer without reason. Larry tries to give himself a new look resembling Steve’s manner to wear clothes, glasses, and a red Audi convertible. However, hhe cannot catch up with Steve, who has more expensive AudiR8, which makes Larry feel crestfallen (The Joneses2009). Thus, the Joneses seem to succeed in everything they do in life, but it is not sincere.
Their children Jennifer and Michael are named with popular in America names that encourage them to feel special. They wear the best clothes, which distinguishes them from other teenagers. Due to their age, they are not matured but rather advanced for their age. Their corporate mindset complicates their life. But the children, nymphomaniac Jenny and gay Mick, cause the problems. Steve intends to deal with the troubles of the family, but his neighbor, Larry, having yielded up to advertising, squanders all the money and commits suicide. The shocked Steve tells the citizens the truth about the family that is leaving for a new town and getting a new “father”. Steve is going there for his beloved.
The Joneses is a comedy that reflects the consumer-driven American culture that concerns American families. Consequently, it is a black comedy about a family that is much closer to consumer goods than to one another.
Consumerism enters the Joneses’ home as a pillar of the status of their family as well as many other suburban middle-class families in the United States. Products and different services are the only topics the family gathers around. A suburban middle-class family is a typical kind of the modern American family where the members have changed their values and relationships with one another. They do not seem to be a traditional family unit any more where all members take care of one another. They have become market units that have altered their identities. The right kind of domestic life is the basis of American families, and the future of the nation depends on the family relationships.
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