Keeping up with The Joneses takes more than Good Hair

With the start of the school year, many look forward to the thrill of shopping for new clothes, shoes and school supplies. Mass consumerism has conditioned us to find happiness at the register. But what does it all really add up to? Rave Reviews considers two films that address this question with clarity and humour.

Chris Rock is known for his hilarious stand-up comedy that comments on the African American community and all its quirks. So when his daughter asked him, “Daddy, why don’t I have good hair?” Rock went looking for an answer. After dozens of interviews with black actors and actresses, politicians and cultural icons, a visit to a world-famous hair convention and a trip to India, Rock penned Good Hair. The documentary is a fascinating look at the black community’s obsession with hair. African American women spend more than any other demographic on hair care and products, and the products aren’t cheap. A high quality weave can cost up to $3,500 and weekly salon visits are a must. Although Rock steers clear of some of the heavier debate on the socio-political implications of this hair infatuation, the film’s a great introduction to the topic. Add a spritz of Rock’s unique brand of humour and you’ve got an entertaining and educational documentary that’s well worth renting.

If you’re hoping to cure your shopping fetish, you’ll want to watch The Joneses. When you first meet the Jones family, gorgeous mom Kate (Demi Moore), handsome and successful dad Steve (David Duchovny), and their perfect kids Jenn and Mick appear to be living the all-American family dream—great house, nice cars, all the newest gadgets and a harmonious household. We soon learn this isn’t your typical family—the Joneses are actually employees for a lifestyle marketing firm. Their job is to become the envy of their community and sell the products that make their lives so “perfect”. But when the race to keep up with the Joneses takes a tragic twist, the family members have to re-evaluate whether they can keep up the façade. Although the film has been criticized for not taking its satirical message far enough, I think most viewers will agree they don’t need the point shoved in their face to understand it. Strong performances from Moore and Duchovny make this an interesting and entertaining comment on the folly of our consumer culture.

I like shopping as much as the next girl, but these movies have made me reconsider my back-to-school mall excursions. And what am I going to do with the money I save by skipping my next shopping trip? Rent more movies, of course!

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