• Review: Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Sun Oct 23 14:30:06 2016
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2016 David N. Butterworth

    **1/2 (out of ****)

    Jeff and Karen Gaffney live a simple domestic life. He's in HR and she's
    an interior designer, they drive a Chevy, and their idea of hot sex is
    doing it really fast in case the kids come running into their room. Tim
    and Natalie Jones jet-set in exotic ports of call. He's in travel and she writes a cooking blog, they drive a gull-wing Mercedes, and their idea of
    hot sex is... well, just look at them. When the latter move into the
    former's Atlanta cul-de-sac, the Gaffney's comfortable world turns upside down--it seems that their seemingly perfect new neighbors are (spoiler
    alert) international spies in disguise! "Keeping Up with the Joneses" is a fun, silly comedy with few pretensions and an extremely likeable cast.
    Zack Galifianakis and Isla Fisher play the suburban, buttoned-down
    Gaffneys; Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot are the sexy, sophisticated Joneses across
    the street. In fact, this winning foursome is easily the film's major strength, with each contributing charming, surprisingly committed
    performances in service of a lightweight and undemanding screenplay, penned
    by Michael LeSieur ("You, Me and Dupree"). The laughs are there though. Except, oddly, the one from the trailer in which Jeff screams "Help!" into
    his completely undetectable miniature surveillance tie mic--not sure why
    they jettisoned that one. Patton Oswalt, usually so reliable (see: "Young Adult," "Big Fan"), shows up late as a dressed-down kingpin called Scorpion
    and spoils the party, acting wise. He's just off for some reason;
    fortunately he's not in the film long enough to do it any serious damage. Certainly, "Keeping Up with the Joneses" is not end-to-end comedy
    gold--it's a little run of the mill and fairly broad in stature. But it's
    got two of my favorite things in a movie: coherence and good tone (thanks, director Greg Mottola!). And, at a mere $12.57 a piece, it also makes for
    an *extremely* economical date night cum twentieth wedding anniversary gift (thanks honey; here's to twenty more!). In that respect, let's call
    "Keeping Up with the Joneses" comedy platinum, shall we.

    David N. Butterworth

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