The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
Everyone wants to keep up with the Joneses. They're good-looking, friendly, popular, affluent, and they always seem ahead of the curve when it comes to what they drive, wear, play and consume. They never boast. They never have to. People just plain want to be like them. And you had better stop reading now, because it's impossible to say more without a spoiler.
OK, for those still in the room, I wonder how many will really be surprised by the big plot “reveal.” From the first moments of dialogue, there seems to be something off about the Joneses. Nothing is made explicit for a time, but they don't seem to relate to one another as family members. There's something they understand and we don't.
The fact is, they aren't a family; they're a marketing unit. Marketing people talk about “early adopters”: People who influence a peer group by being the first to know about, use, wear or attend something. At a conference I attended in Boulder, Colo., last week, total strangers followed Andy Ihnatko and his iPad around like a man with a T-bone at a dog pound. The Joneses are professional early adapters, paid to impersonate a family unit and consume the sponsor's products.
Among other advantages to this story idea, it makes product placement necessary, not merely venal. If you don't leave this movie more aware of the new Audi models, you slept through it. The Joneses never make a point of anything. It's just that Steve Jones (David Duchovny) makes great shots with his new golf clubs. Kate Jones (Demi Moore) entertains so brilliantly. Their teenagers Jennifer (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) wear such cool stuff. If the Joneses don't have a dog, maybe that's because there's not enough money in dog retailing.