Last Updated: 01.07 PM, Oct 21, 2021
Five years ago, Keeping Up with the Joneses had its US release today, and was met with mostly negative feedback from critics. And for good reason. It’s no different from the many action comedies that Hollywood studios churn out by the dozen every year.
We meet the goofy suburban couple Karen (Isla Fisher) and Jeff (Zach Galifianakis) Gaffney just as they are dropping their kids off to summer camp. Jeff is an HR manager at an aerospace company, and Karen is an interior designer who is mostly hired to blueprint bathrooms and urinals. Just as they arrive home, they find out that the house next door has been sold to a mysterious couple, who turn out to be the stunning Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie Jones (Gal Gadot). They are everything perfect — a little too attractive, a little too well travelled and accomplished – for this neighbourhood of soccer moms and dads dressed in GAP cargos.
Karen, being the nosy neighbour, develops a suspicion soon after their summer block party when she finds Tim snooping around Jeff’s man cave. Jeff brushes her concerns of the couple being a little “off” in hopes of developing a friendship with Tim, which he kind of does. This bubble is eventually burst when they discover that a glass sculpture gift from the Joneses is bugged, and they really are not the travel writer-social media consultant couple that they claim to be. Karen believes them to be bad guys and so does Jeff. But soon after the Joneses come to their rescue — there is a sniper, a couple of bike riding, gun toting guys who chase their car, and a bomb blast – do they realise that the couple is working to protect US national security.
There are not singularly hilarious moments in the film, though it does have a very light-hearted tone. There’s mild violence, probably because it was catered to an audience above 13 year of age. The story is nothing novel, you just have to read the synopsis or watch the trailer to know how it will unfold.
What is attractive (the sole attraction) is the star cast, but the script by Michael LeSeiur just doesn't give them sufficient material or meat to make their characters memorable, or shine. Hamm and Gadot mostly rely on their good looks, while Galifiankis is just a dad joke telling (slightly mature) version of his Hangover franchise character Alan. Keeping Up with the Joneses is that film that you will want to tune in to when you really do not have anything special to watch or you’d play it in the background while you doom scroll on your phone. Or you just could not watch it at all, and tune into the new season of Succession instead.
Watch the trailer here: