EQ REVIEWS - Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016)
PG13 / 105 minutes
The Gaffneys, a normal suburban couple, become embroiled in an international espionage plot when they discover that their seemingly perfect new neighbors, The Joneses, are government spies.
Greg Mottola is a director who has been responsible for three really enjoyable, if not notable, R-rated comedies from the last 10 years. Mottola gave us 'Paul', 'Adventureland' and most notably, 'Superbad' and now he gives us the PG13 action comedy, 'Keeping Up with the Joneses'. The film is basically a routine, by-the-numbers action comedy that we've seen time and time again and neither the script or it's actors do anything special to set it apart from the rest of the bunch. On a positive note, I will say that all four of the leads share some really good chemistry, especially Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot as the mysterious neighbors to Zach Galifinakis and Isla Fisher's characters. I find Hamm to have a great leading man quality that's perfectly suited to more serious roles but what's most surprising is that he has a comedic side that's quite amusing and suits him very well and to play that with Gadot's personality is a nice combination. While the jokes in the film come at you a mile a minute, only a handful of them actually stick the landing, with the rest of them being fairly forgettable. The action in the film is your standard "safe PG13 action" with some bloodless shootouts, explosions and such but when it's on screen, it's entertaining to watch. I felt the film could have been a bit better if the script dared to be just a bit different and edgier in both it's action and especially it's comedy elements by playing outside the realm of the standard PG13 action comedy it locks itself into. I really feel that both the cast and director are worthy of making an awesome and fun action/comedy, I just wish the script was in the same wheelhouse. 'Keeping Up with the Joneses' falls very flat and it's not due to the actors themselves but the material they have to work with.
CONTINUED IN COMMENTS