Be prepared to find yourself trying
to find sympathy and compassion for the Siegels, the lavish family front and center of Lauren Greenfield's documentary. The first 30 minutes of the film alone may make anyone who has either been laid off or earns less than $30,000 a year violently ill. We meet Florida billionaire David Siegel, literally sitting on a throne, discussing the fortune he's accumulated by convincing poor saps to buy time-share properties from his portfolio of resorts. By his side is Jackie, his bustily enhanced trophy wife: A one-time beauty queen and IBM computer engineer, Jackie now spends her days corralling a gaggle of dogs, their seven kids and her niece (with the help of nannies, of course). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the housing bubble bursts. The attention focuses on Jackie, who attempts to live within her means by shopping at Wal-Mart and making a McDonald's run (in a limo), and you still get the sense that this formerly working-class scrapper understands how grim things are. Perhaps unintentionally, the film is a riposte to the F. Scott Fitzgerald line about the rich being different from you and me.