Average suburban couple, the Gaffneys (Zack Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) are thrust into the world of international espionage when they realise that their stylish new neighbours, the Joneses (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot), are government spies.
It is difficult to think of a bigger waste of a talented cast in recent years than Greg Mottola’s action comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses. While Hamm and Gadot may not primarily be associated with comedy, Fisher and Galifianakis are both adept comic performers and proven in the genre - a dynamic which should be perfect for the film’s central concept, allowing humour to arise from the stark contrast between the two couples. Yet Michael LeSieur’s uninspired script is almost entirely devoid of any wit or amusement and is simply not funny enough. The vast majority of the jokes do not land and the actors are rarely given anything interesting to do; the two female leads are resigned to discussions about lingerie while the men get drunk together – not exactly revolutionary comic material.
Unfortunately, the film’s action is just as tepid. Its major set piece, a formulaic car chase, is about as exciting as a BMW advert, while the final shoot-out is instantly forgettable. This is another egregious waste of the cast’s skills, particularly Gadot, whose action talents were seen in her turn as Wonder Woman in this year’s Batman v. Superman. Here, she and Hamm are reduced to relentless shooting and shouting during the heat of the action.
Greg Mottola’s direction is unremarkable and does nothing to elevate the film above its weak script. He displays none of the energy and warmth seen in his previous films, such as Superbad and Paul, and seems utterly unsuited to the constraints of mainstream, studio comedy.
Despite a couple of reasonably funny one-liners and the cast’s best efforts, Keeping Up with the Joneses provides little more than dreary action and insufficient laughter – hardly great qualities for an action comedy.
More like this: Dinner for Schmucks (2010)