MOVIE REVIEW: Keeping up with the Joneses

A quiet suburban Cul-de-sac, where the middle-income professionals spend their existence, sleeping through life, is turned on its head when a new couple move in to the area. Jeff and Karen try their best to greet these new people to the area but Karen gets a feeling that something is off about them and won’t let it go. The new couple, Natalie and Tim Jones, are beautiful people with seemingly amazing lives, who just happen to be spies. They are trying to find someone in Jeff’s company, something to do with Aerospace technology, who is selling classified items on the black market.

maxresdefaultPrepare for a rant. This film is billed as a comedy, mixed with action, and we’ve had a few of these types of films that have worked in previous years, like Central Intelligence and Spy, but this film falls into the realm of the other sort, the Ride Along 2’s, films that forget that the COMEDY part of the film is just as important as the action. But that’s doing a disservice to action films, as there is little action here either. Lets look at the comedy talent in the film, Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, and Jon Hamm. No laughs. The Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot, who I like as an actress, is there for little more than set dressing. So Zach, Isla, and Jon are trying to make lines that a two-year old would cry at funny and we’re meant to buy this.

I’m the guy in the theatre that laughs at dumb jokes, and these days I’m crying out for new comedies that are actually funny, but I can’t seem to find them. The last film that I remember laughing out loud at is the brilliant Irish comedy The Young Offenders.kutj-gallery2-gallery-image

I can tell you now how the pitch for this film went, someone walked into an executives office and said, “It’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith with laughs, but I’ve no idea how to make it funny, but we have these guys under contract.” and then he or she went back to live under that rock that they turn over only when the idea train runs out of steam. I honestly don’t know why some films get financed.

maxresdefault-1What did I like? I’m trying hard to think about this one and it’s four twenty in the morning here in Garville so I’m going to grab a scotch and think about that one for a minute. Well I’m back. In the time that I’ve been gone I’ve marked this film down to one from a two, as there is not enough scotch in the world to make me think up a clever reason why this should be anything else. It’s so formulaic that it’s probably some form of line that you type into Excel to work out how awful movies are made. Please let funny actors and fine performers have lines that make me giggle, have a plot that isn’t taken out of the 1990’s playbook, take a chance. Within two minutes of the film starting I could write the rest of the film in my head, when the reveal of the villain came at the end of the film I had some hope. That one glimmer as the cameo actor is revealed, the one brief glimmer of hope in the darkness, and it lasted like two seconds. Seriously? You get him to be in the film and it’s a role that we’ve seen him do before and better, and a silly idiotic pun on his character’s name is all that you can manage? Seriously? Where is the scotch?

If you want fish out of water spy comedy just watch Central Intelligence or Spy again on home video, it’s how it is done right. If you just want comedy check out The Young Offenders, if you just want spies with a hint of humour then watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Keeping up the Joneses can’t even keep up with the new times we’re living in. It’s a shame as you, like me but not as cute, are probably a fan of someone in the cast. Just in case you are wondering the one point, the reason that this is not a zero, is because I chuckled once during the whole running time. Once!

Director: Greg Mottola
Writer: Michael Leieur
Stars: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot

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