I know early reviews seem to be less than thrilled for this flick. RottenTomatoes gave it a twenty something percent, but honestly, I think it looks enjoyable.
Who doesn’t love Jon Hamm? Ever since the TV show MAD MEN, he’s been something of an underground icon of powerhouse acting in both drama and even comedy. What’s not to like? And of course Gal Gadot. Say what you want about BATMAN V SUPERMAN (2016), many agree that she was one of the few saving graces and everyone’s looking forward to her solo film WONDER WOMAN (2017). But it is an interesting switch to see her take a shot at comedy. I wanna see her pull it off. Isla Fisher, a comedy veteran most famous for her role in WEDDING CRASHERS (2005) and NOW YOU SEE ME (2013). I don’t see many of her films, but I’ve never been disappointed by her. At the very least, if everyone else falls flat, I’m sure she’ll be great. Finally, Zack Galifianakis. For those of you that don’t know, I haven’t always liked him. I wasn’t a huge fan of THE HANGOVER (2009), but I did enjoy his dramatic turn in BIRDMAN (2014). He’s a popular funny man, but he hasn’t always been my cup of tea… if ever.
Now for the crew. Directing is Greg Mottola, known for ADVENTURELAND (2009), SUPERBAD (2007), and a few episodes of the TV show THE NEWSROOM. Writing the script is Michael LeSieur, a relatively inexperienced writer only known for THE MAIDEN HEIST (2009) and YOU, ME, AND DUPREE (2006). He is, however, slated for an apparent reboot of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, due out in 2018. Here’s hoping it does the original justice, unlike the Ron Howard version. Composing the music is Jake Monaco, known for ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE (2016), KINDERGARTEN COP 2 (2016), and LET’S BE COPS (2014). Finally, the cinematographer is Andrew Dunn, known for BRIDGET JONES’S BABY (2016), CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE (2011), and PRACTICAL MAGIC (1998).
Like I said, I thought it looked cut enough. I wasn’t expecting anything great, but I was hoping for entertainment. This is my honest opinion of KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES.
Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zack Galifianakis and Isla Fisher, respectively) live a normal life in their suburban neighborhood. Their kids are off to camp, and now Karen is longing for some excitement, while Jeff is content. Both of their worlds are turned upside down when new neighbors move in, the Joneses, Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie (Gal Gadot). At first, both are excited to make new friends, but as the Joneses prove to be a little too perfect and talented Karen suspects that isn’t a coincidence and thinks there’s more to them than is obvious, even if Jeff thinks that everything is fine. Soon, they both find out that Tim and Natalie are indeed more than just some average couple. They’re spies. But whether or not they’re the kind that saves lives or ends them remains to be seen.
Yeah, this could have been a better movie. Can’t believe my co-worker was more right than I was.
Unfortunately, the most obvious problem is that many of the jokes fall flat, but the biggest problem is, go friggin’ figure, Galifianakis’ character, Jeff. He is unbearably annoying and never shuts the hell up. A lot of his jokes feel so forced and contrived that the longer he was on screen, the more angry I got. I mean, seriously tell me what the joke is. “It sounds cool coming out of your mouth.” Um… I’m befuddled. It’s funny because… our mouths are where words come out of? Is… is that really funny? But it’s obviously not just that one joke. The whole movie is that way.
The sad thing is that some of the jokes could have worked. There’s a bit where Jeff is teaching a couple of women the value of trust through that blindfold exercise. You’ve seen it in the trailer, the blindfolded woman falls forward instead of backward. This could have worked if the second that the characters realized that the woman was falling over that Jeff and the other woman are freaking out that she’s falling the wrong way, but instead, they stand there and watch.
Also, worst spies ever when they can’t even keep their own lies straight.
I won’t say that there weren’t some better scenes. Galifianakis aside, everyone else was reliably likable and Gadot had a few funny lines here and there. I do especially like the scene when Karen and Natalie are in the department store and Karen’s confronted by Karen in her lingerie. Fisher delivers the most hilarious discomfort you could get out of her. But things didn’t get downright hilarious until Patton Oswalt came in. I won’t give it away, but his appearance was like, “Yeah guys, your movie kinda blows, let me come in and save it from being an absolute trainwreck.”
I also give the movie, and Hamm himself, credit for teaching me a new way of opening beer bottles. That comes in handy considering the restaurant I work in loses its bottle openers all the damn time, so… thanks!
There’s not much more to write, sadly. There’s only so many scenes I can point out and simply say, “that wasn’t funny.” It wasn’t God-awful. Like I said, Oswalt was awesome, Gadot and Fisher had a few funny lines, and Hamm was pretty likable, but Galifianakis’ character was beyond obnoxious, the decent jokes are too far inbetween, and… seriously, spies that forget their own lies? Really?! Ugh… anywho…
My honest rating for KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES: a weak 3/5