No Need to Bother ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Keeping Up With The Joneses” illustrates how hard it really is to make a funny action comedy. After watching this, I have begun to think that the ones that work are something of anomaly – more often than not they’re like this. An amiable but aimless project that can’t quite grasp what it wants to be and doesn’t have the vision or the laughs to sustain itself.

The film’s inspirations begin and sadly end with the casting. I have no problem with Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher as a domesticated suburban couple who have settled into boring routine. With the kids away at summer camp, they finally have some time to themselves. But all visions of out of control lovemaking are dismissed in a single montage by fears and worry. So they settle in to watch the Good Wife instead, but they’re intrigued and a little wary of the new neighbors. Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot are all you could want as the suspiciously accomplished couple who just moved in next door. But “Keeping Up With The Joneses” unfortunately wastes the considerable talents of everyone involved.

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Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis in ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

Critics all over the country have been jumping all over this movie with both feet, but I’ll just use one foot. I do think with a different screenplay, and a different director, the combination of Galifianakis and Fisher could have made something memorable. And as far as I’m concerned Jon Hamm is always a welcome addition to any project.

Patton Oswalt also has a small role and comes the closest to actually wringing something resembling a chuckle out of the material. The producers also seem to have raided the cast of Veep as well, so there’s no shortage of funny people everywhere you turn in this project. But it’s the action scenes that seem small, and not particularly well constructed. One house explosion in particular looked only a little bit better than one of those special effects apps I have on my phone.

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Gal Gadot and Jon Hamm in ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

But then again action isn’t really director Greg Mottola’s specialty. He’s more of a coming of age comedy director and “Keeping Up With The Joneses” can’t make the pivot from the Judd Apatow style humor to action the way say “Pineapple Express” did. In the end, it’s just not funny. And it doesn’t have enough zany energy to carry it along. Should you be “Keeping Up With The Joneses?” No need to bother.

”Keeping Up with the Joneses” opened everywhere on October 21st. Featuring Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot, Patton Oswalt, Matt Walsh, Maribeth Monroe, Michael Liu and Kevin Dunn. Screenplay by Michael LeSieur. Directed by Greg Mottola. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters

By SPIKE WALTERS
Contributor
HollywoodChicago.com
spike@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2016 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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