Friday, April 8, 2011

A Review: The Joneses

America is a country that was founded by people of faith. It is still a land that is typified by an ideology, but the current reigning “ism” is materialism. If you grow up in America you have the American Dream ingrained in you; if you grow up outside of America, you dream of the American Dream. Somewhere along the way, “truth, justice and the American way” became “truth, justice and the American Dream.” Even Christians in the Bible Belt, the self-declared heart of Christianity, have a hard time remembering that Jesus did not proclaim a Kingdom where everyone has a white picket fence, a two car garage and a membership at the country club.

In “The Joneses” this materialistic side of American society is exposed for the ugly and even dangerous way of life that it is. A family is sent out into a wealthy community to cause envy and as a result, generate earnings for companies producing products. It is a merely parable and such tactics don’t really exist. However, a significant portion of the American culture is taken up with selling and promoting the acquisition of stuff.

In the end—of both this story and the mentality it exposes—materialism is exposed as an empty lie. Stuff does not make anyone happy. The characters in the story are all chasing that illusive commodity, but it cannot be bought. The relationships are what people really crave. Those looking at the Joneses want the great family relationships that they appear to have. The Joneses themselves are just as busy chasing the same thing. Since this is a parable, the viewer is eventually shown that relationships and not things are what are important in life, but will anyone get the point. For a story about the evils of consumerism there sure is an abundance of product placement.

Maybe this is just a clever way to advertise even more stuff in the guise of a morality play?

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