Keeping Up With The Joneses (2016) Review: They're Boring.
I don’t know what it is but spy comedies never seem to do it for me. I think on the face of it, movies making fun of spies, or just playing with the espionage genre could be great. There are plenty of tropes to make fun of, but I’ve never really seen it done well. I haven’t seen last years ‘Spy’ so maybe that would tickle my fancy, but by and large, making light of spy movies has never really been watchable. Any time I see Mike Meyers say groovy I want to hurl something at the screen.
That’s not much different with this film, although less throwing, more groaning. Zach Galifianakis can’t seem to catch a break these days. I haven’t seen ‘Masterminds’ myself, but from what I’m hearing, it’s not much better than the movie this review is focused on ‘Keeping Up With The Joneses’. Both feature Zach playing everyday characters who get thrust into a life of dangerous adventure. This is the one where he discovers his neighbours are spies, and helps them out with their spying.
If you’re thinking ‘Why would spies need Zach’s help, he’s really not equipped for that kind of job” you’d be right, and the movie doesn’t seem to care. Many times I was burdened by questions like that, only for the movie to slap me across the face, punishing me for daring to take it so seriously. Silly me.
Which granted is fair. It’s a comedy with a wacky premise. It doesn’t exactly have to be grounded in realism if it’s funny. It’s not funny. In fact, it’s really dull. The main base of the humour is comparing the ho hum life of soccer moms and dads to the devilishly accomplished & attractive couple of Gal Gadot and Jon Hamm as the Joneses, new neighbours who move in to spy on Galifianakis and his fellow co workers. Those jokes get old very fast.
So it’s not very believable, and it’s not very funny. Are the characters any good? Well, actually, that’s probably the only thing the movie has going for it. There’s a sense of who each character is, and the cast does their best to bring that out. It’s just when the situations they’re in feel so illogical and unfunny, it doesn’t really matter. I know they’re chickens, but I don’t care why or how they cross the road.
I feel like I’m being too hard on a movie that’s really harmless. I don’t hate it at all, I just can’t recommend it. It’s what the rating ‘Read A Book’ was made for. It just plainly is, you should be reading a book rather than watching this movie. It is a waste of your precious time, something I considered walking out of simply due to feeling done with it. I’d seen everything the movie had to offer in the first 20 minutes.
All in all, this movie is just sort of nothing. It’s not going to make you angry that it exists, but it’s not gonna make you happy either. It simply occupies space and time but leaves no real effect on you. A month from now I’ll remember it as that movie that came out a couple years ago. That’s how distant it’ll be in my mind.
Rating: Read A Book.