Keeping Up With The Joneses is a spy comedy starring Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Gal Gadot and Jon Hamm. The plot of the movie revolves around a boring suburban family that sends their children off to camp for the summer. They’re left wondering what they should do with the time to themselves when new neighbours move in across the street. Things start to get craaaaaaa-zy for them when the neighbours turn out to not be who they say they are and set off a series of events that change their lives forever.
I meaaaaaan, I use the words “change their lives forever” loosely. In the same way that Marvel uses them to describe big events that take place every 3-6 months… “IT WILL CHANGE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE FOREVER!” But the truth is that the characters were pretty basic to begin with in the film and it wouldn’t have taken a lot to really shake up their lives.
Galifianakis and Fisher play the suburban couple living a mundane life, stuck in their routines. I wish I could say that their performance was charming or fun or full of ANYTHING that made them even remotely interesting as characters but that’s not the case. On the bright side (or maybe not so much), they’re not the only ones putting on completely lacklustre performances in this film. Gadot and Hamm are nothing short of cringeworthy on screen as they try to work their way through some truly horrendous dialogue, which brings me to my next point…
I don’t blame the actors in this film for the end product, not even a little bit. You give what you get and what they got was definitely not great. The dialogue feels clunky and forced, like you’re watching an hour and a half long improv set where nobody really knows where the script is going and everyone’s just rolling with it.
Men can write female characaters… of this I have no doubt. Take something like Ed Brubaker’s comic book series Velvet (he’s also a writer and producer on Westworld, if y’all aren’t familiar)… now with Velvet, the main character is a female agent that’s being set up and burned by her agency. She has to sleep around and use her feminine wiles to make her way in the world and get the information she needs to clear her name. It also shows her being a complete badass and doesn’t exploit the character. She’s sexy, not sexualized. The women in Keeping Up With The Joneses aren’t over the top sexualized but my problem with the script is that it FELT like it was a script written by men. A sexy scene where the two women have an entire conversation in a dressing room while trying on lingerie together, even though that’s entirely out of character for one of them? Suuuuuuuure, why not!
But seriously? No. Stop doing this. If you’re going to make a movie and just phone it in, at least have some good characters that I can get into and appreciate. There are many bad movies that I can appreciate when they’re a GOOD kind of bad, you know? *cough Jupiter Ascending cough* (not that that’s within the same genre but still…)
Possibly the strangest thing about this movie though is seeing a lean Galifianakis. Gone is his dad bod, which I feel would’ve actually worked for him in the film and instead we get a version of the man that’s almost unrecognizable at times. This isn’t shaming of any sort, it’s just bizarre to see him like that after numerous films just being au natural. Kind of like how we felt when Jonah Hill got super skinny there for a while.
Keeping Up With The Joneses Blu-ray Special Features:
- Deleted Scenes – Four hilarious deleted scenes, plus the original opening.
- Spy Game – The stars reveal their roles in the car chases, love story and goofy bromance that melded into the perfect blend of ‘burbs and bullets.
- Keeping Up With Georgia – Go on location and see how Georgia doubled as the backdrop for both a sleepy, idyllic neighborhood and a stunt-filled setting for spycraft.
Skip it. This will be on Netflix soon enough if you’re REALLY wanting to check it out but I don’t think that I could justify buying this movie for my collection, even just to watch mindlessly with some friends.
It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, it’s just entirely forgettable.