Keeping Up with the Joneses.
There are two things immediately wrong with this movie. 1.) The title is horrendous because the word “Joneses” is super weird. 2.) Zach Galifianakis released a movie just about a month ago called Masterminds that was super disappointing so he really needs a win here.
We meet Jeff (Galifianakis) and his wife Karen (Isla Fisher). Jeff is in Human Resources at an engineering firm that is working on some high level stuff. A new couple moves into their neighborhood (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) and it becomes apparent immediately that they’re not who they say they are. The movie turns into a “who is the mole?” mystery. We also have Matt Walsh, Maribeth Monroe (Workaholics), and a few other little surprise guests.
This movie is much better than Masterminds but that’s not really saying much. In Masterminds, I felt like the movie was aggressively bad. Here, the movie is fine. Galifianakis isn’t ridiculous, he’s just kind of a normal guy that says a few weird things. He’s toned way down, which works to this movie’s benefit. It’s also nice to see Isla Fisher back in comedy, especially after her show-stealing performance in Wedding Crashers. These two work together well but they’re overshadowed by Hamm and Gadot.
Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot are great here, managing to convincingly pull off being badasses but also providing some of the movie’s funniest moments. This is the largest role I’ve seen Gadot play and it’s not always great, but it’s mostly great, and that has to count for something.
Lastly, there’s a villain in the movie that I won’t spoil for you, but the climax is simultaneously the funniest and also most action-packed part of the movie. Unfortunately the rest of the movie doesn’t hold up so well.
What doesn’t work?
This movie isn’t bad. However I didn’t care about hardly any of it. I found myself staring at the screen in complete apathy. Huge action scene, no reaction. A series of jokes, no reaction. The movie is just bland and somewhat boring. There are some scenes, maybe a handful, that surprised me and showed how much potential this movie had, but most of the movie is just downright boring.
The amount of things that actually happen in this movie is slim. It’s a simple movie, full of fluff and pointless scenes that were likely included to boost the runtime. It could’ve been a 30-minute short and maybe even better because of it.
And while Galifianakis reeled it in for this movie, there are occasional scenes where he goes from 0 to 100 and it’s a bit cringeworthy, unless you’re a huge fan of Galifianakis when he’s at 100.
This movie is a coin toss for me. If there is literally nothing else you want to watch, it’ll be fine. It’s got some humor, some decent performances by Gadot and Hamm, and a surprisingly fun climax. However the journey to get to the climax is boring and dull, full of fluff that doesn’t matter and a fair amount of jokes that don’t land. This movie won’t be one that you remember in a few days, so I’d recommend waiting til you can rent it and save yourself the money.