'Keeping Up with the Joneses' Film Review

Keeping Up with the Joneses keeps up with Hollywood’s search for a new-age comedy classic. Putting a fun twist on a familiar formula, the film’s cast pulls a few tricks out of its bag — but doesn’t do anything new.

                   20th Century Fox

                   20th Century Fox

Keeping Up with the Joneses stars Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, and “Wonder Woman” herself Gal Gadot. The former two are a regular married couple living the suburban life, while the latter pair are seemingly-perfect undercover government agents. The simple-living Gaffney’s sniff out the Joneses for the spies they truly are and everyone gets wrapped up in a life-threatening secret mission.

My impression of the film was odd: initially I couldn’t muster up many faults, but with further reflection I realized I couldn’t point out much of anything. The movie is quite unremarkable, a worn-out theme dolled up to look pretty. If you pick up on this, chances are you’re laughing more with the guy sitting next to you — less at the characters on screen.

The new action comedy isn’t all bad though. It’s a fun little twist on movie bro-mances (or sis-mances). Fisher and Gadot are scene-stealers together, playing up their odd sexual chemistry. The writers also plug in a few thought-provoking jokes, like waterboarding during an interrogation, leaving sensitive audiences unsure whether to laugh.

My biggest heat with Keeping Up with the Joneses is how safe they play the script. Every element of the movie has been done before and in most cases better. For example, the reveal of a dorky evil villain (played wonderfully by Patton Oswalt) has been beaten to death. Even my plus one, who is often more forgiving than I am, described the film as cliche.

Keeping Up with the Joneses gives viewers a fair share of cheap laughs, but I found myself more captivated with my Chicago mix popcorn at times.

Rating: 2.5/5*

*The Shak Rating System:
5 - Film of the Century
4.5 - Acadamy Award-Worthy
4 - (One of) The Year’s Top Movies
3.5 - Worth Price of Admission
3 - See it on a Tuesday
2.5 – Let Someone Else Buy Your Ticket
2 - Maybe After a Few Drinks
1.5- Are You Sure You Have Nothing Better to Do Tonight?
1 - The Movie Equivalent of a Zombie Bite