So I watched Keeping Up with the Joneses…
The comedy genre is, in my opinion, the riskiest genre out there. In a bad action movie, you can still revisit it for one or two kickass scenes. A poor drama still has a sporadic, emotionally touching scene. Even a cheesy romcom has a scene that will pull on the heartstrings or enhance a date night. BUT a poor comedy…there’s so little redeeming value. If you don’t laugh, then what’s the point? This is a question this film will have you asking throughout its runtime.
Okay, basic plot: Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis & Isla Fisher) are a typical suburban couple living the mundane lifestyle that living in a cul-de-sac provides. Their lives are spiced up when a new couple moves into the neighbourhood – The Joneses. Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie Jones (Gal Gadot) are a seemingly perfect couple who make the Gaffneys feel rather boring. Karen is immediately suspicious of the couple because of their utopian life and her suspicions turn out to be valid as The Joneses are actually secret agents who’ve moved into the neighbourhood to monitor and possibly eliminate the Gaffneys.
This film’s script is extremely disappointing. Not only is it lacking humour but also originality. The secret agent paired with a nerdy/inept sidekick is a well that’s been visited quite a few times. Off the top of my head films like Central Intelligence, The Spy Next Door and Grimsby come to mind. The format for these type of films is one we all know. Cool, suave actor playing the spy; funny, nerdy person playing the sidekick; big name cameo for the villain and a few thrills and spills throughout the film. Unfortunately, Keeping Up with the Joneses clings too tightly to this format. Its story is unbelievably predictable and its jokes fall flat because firstly, they aren’t very good and secondly, you’ve seen them all before.
I could accurately predict exactly how this movie was going to unfold from start to finish. There’s nothing to thrill or excite you about its plot and if I didn’t have to write this review, I probably would have shut it off halfway through. The only true redeeming value this movie has is Zach Galifianakis. Galifianakis is a very funny actor and there are times when he manages to craft actual comedy out of this film’s lazy and poorly written dialogue. These moments of skill from him are unfortunately not enough to save this film but if I was ever to watch this film again (which I wouldn’t), it would solely be for him.
The rest of the cast unfortunately do nothing to help Galifianakis in his efforts. I hate writing this, especially after her amazing turn in Wonder Woman but Gal Gadot is horrendous in this film. The acting choices she makes often fall flat and don’t seem to suit the tone of the film or her character at all. Isla Fisher is equally incompetent and there are moments you can actually feel her sucking the life out of a scene that Galifianakis is attempting to save. Jon Hamm’s performance isn’t even worth mentioning because it feels as if Hamm didn’t want to be in this movie at all but he’d already cashed his paycheque and had to do something when the director yelled “ACTION!”
Overall, Keeping Up with the Joneses is simply not funny. Its script is unimaginative and dull, its actors (with the exception of Galifianakis) are disastrous in their respective roles and you’re left feeling rather indifferent about the whole affair. It’s not worth watching for any reason 4/10