Who would’ve thought that undercover spy-work could become so boring after a while, huh? Yes, Keeping Up with the Joneses is a mediocre action-comedy set within a suburban neighbourhood with both Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher as a married couple living a normal life when, all of a sudden, new neighbours arrive in the form of the Joneses (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot). They turn out to be secret spies (What a shock!), and from that follows nothing but hi-jinks that are supposed to be played for laughs, but end up coming across as forced and tired beyond belief.
This is a film where all of the best scenes are already spoiled by its trailer (which wasn’t even that good either), so all the major turning points and events come across as obvious and predictable, and even if you haven’t watched the trailer, you’d still feel that whiff of predictability and boredom. You can tell that there was probably a board meeting with a bunch of executives wanting to create a film that would be just as good as, if not better, than the Brangelina-fest Mr and Mrs Smith, and while that wasn’t entirely a great film, in comparison with this, it is Citizen Kane!
This is an action comedy that fails to deliver on both the action and the comedy, leaving a film that feels like it’s lost its heart, brain and soul, and is now a vacuous product that was designed by committee. However, the biggest problem of them all is how it takes completely charismatic, talented actors, wastes their talents, and making just end up being uncharismatic and dull to watch. Admittedly, Gal Gadot does have one or two good lines thrown in, and Patton Oswalt is a delight to watch as always, but even they can’t save the film.
In the end, Keeping Up with the Joneses is a film that is only mediocre at best, but even that’s just damning it with faint praise. The action is thrilling enough to be exciting and riveting, the comedy is unfunny and fails to land, and the actors involved are just completely wasted in what is, ultimately, an empty shell of a film. Can someone show The Burbs again, please?
Dir: Greg Mottola
Scr: Michael LeSieur
Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, Gal Gadot, Matt Walsh, Maribeth Monroe, Patton Oswalt, Kevin Dunn
Prd: Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes
DOP: Andrew Dunn
Music: Jake Monaco
Run time: 105 mins
Keeping Up with the Joneses is released on DVD February 13th.