Ivy Richmond Sears ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Fun chase scene? Check. Women in scantily-clad outfits? Check. Jon Hamm? Check. Original idea? Eh. Keeping Up With The Joneses is directed by Greg Mottola and stars Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis as Karen and Jeff Gaffney, a perfectly normal married couple from Atlanta, Georgia, whose whole world is turned upside down when the Joneses move in next door. The Joneses, played by Gal Gadot and Jon Hamm, are the worlds most perfect couple. They travel the world, speak multiple languages, and, oh yeah… are international spies. Karen and Jeff end up caught in the Joneses’ world after accidentally blowing their cover.
Keeping Up With The Joneses is clichéd in every sense of the word. It doesn’t play with genre, it is the genre. With every chase scene, every reminder that Gal Gadot is the most beautiful woman in the world, every joke about Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis being an old married couple, we are constantly reminded of the genre conventions. It’s all been done before, and for the most part it’s been done better. It doesn’t try to be new or fresh- perhaps that’s what saved the film from being a terrible movie. Keeping Up With The Joneses knows exactly what it wants to be- a cliché.
No, Keeping Up With The Joneses doesn’t offer anything of substance. It’s a superficial film. It provides several genuine laughs and a number of fun chase scenes, but not much else. With that all being said, the laughs are real. It’s hard not to crack a smile when Zach Galifianakis gets bitten by a poisonous snake, or when Isla Fisher teaches her kids the meaning of sharing during a high speed car chase. The humor is relatable and the movie is exciting, which somewhat forgives the rest of the film’s lack of ambition.
Keeping Up With The Joneses has an all star cast, who help keep the humor alive. Without them, this movie would be nothing. Director Greg Mottle was able to land some of the funniest people working today. Their chemistry is all very real, and their willingness to go to extremes with their comedy is what distracts from the utter lack of emotional depth. It may be worth a watch just to see Jon Hamm and Zach Galifianakis indoor sky dive together.
Ultimately, if Mottle wanted to make a movie about friendship that had well rounded and interesting characters, he failed miserably. But if Mottle wanted to give people a fun Friday night, then he succeeded. Don’t go in expecting anything more than a fun spy movie, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. Enjoy the heck out of the film, even if you may forget about it the next day.
Overall Grade: B-
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