Keeping Up With The Joneses

In attempting to catch up to some of the bigger movies of the fall that I missed, I will note that I completely forgot about Keeping Up With The Joneses. It came and it went. It had advertising, I am mostly certain. Definitely.

Not many people went to see it either. It was a bomb on a relatively low budget, and now I am talking about it months later mostly because it has a short enough run time for me to fit it into my schedule last week.

Also, because I liked the actors involved.

Look at them all together. Short. Tall. Hairy.

Jeff (Zach Galifianakis) and Karen Gaffney (Isla Fisher) live a quiet suburban life with their two kids. Jeff works as an HR rep at some tech company (and lives near a lot of his coworkers), Karen designs bathrooms, sometimes. Their kids are off to summer camp, so they have the house to themselves! That means sex very quickly and then mindlessly hanging out the rest of the night.

But then, they get some new neighbors. The Joneses. Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie (Gal Gadot). They are perfect, they are tall, they live amazing lives, and now they apparently want to settle down.

Karen, however, doesn’t trust them. Something seems off about them. They are a bit too friendly. She thinks they are spying on them!

And yeah, she ends up being right. They aren’t really friends. But what do they want? What do they need? Are they good spies or bad spies?

Also featuring Patton Oswalt, Ming Zhao, Matt Walsh, and Maribeth Monroe.

Spies get to wear fancy clothes and show off their assets.

To be fair to this film, which I don’t really want to type a lot, the idea for a comedy action film isn’t completely bad. It just didn’t have a lot extra going for it. I barely laughed at any thing. I would note in my head that a scene was potentially amusing, but it just never really pushed the funny bone like I had hoped.

Hamm is a wonderful comedic actor, given how serious his bigger roles have been. But he felt wasted. Gadot was given the entirely serious role plus sex appeal, so she wasn’t given any potentially funny moments, which is just poor writing. Fisher’s character was mostly one dimensional. They wrote her as a bored housewife, so she played a bored housewife. And Galifianakis at least had some sort of development, but again, he only had a few recurring joke stereotypes.

The ending was of course a mess, when they had to bring in the more action/spy elements. It weakens an already weak comedy film.

Two genres is hard, you have to be willing to go hard into both, not just a little bit into both. Because then you are just left with a dud, a master of none, and a film people will forget about in a few months time.

1 out of 4.

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