• by Wes Singleton

Keeping Up with the Joneses, C


Rated PG-13, 101 minutes

In spite of a game cast and a few good lines, the forgettable suburban spy comedy "Keeping Up with the Joneses" is predictably harmless and dumb.

Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher), a suburban couple, become unwittingly embroiled in an international espionage plot when they discover that the Joneses (Gal Gadot and Jon Hamm), their seemingly perfect new neighbors, are governmental secret agents. Directed by Greg Mottola of "Superbad" and "Adventureland" with a script from Michael LeSieur, the charming, silly "Keeping Up With the Joneses" is at best only sporadically funny, though not enough to make it a memorable game changer. In other words, it's hit or miss, but what does work sticks just fine.

Gadot and "Mad Men's" Hamm cast a suave glance as the handsome, charming spy couple, though as the suburbanites who find themselves in the line of fire, "Wedding Crasher's" Fisher and Galifianakis have the most fun and the best lines, from being an undercover Mr. and Mrs. Rascal Flatts ("I'm listening to their music get into character") to being parents ("split the cookie! split the cookie" they tell their kids on the phone in the middle of a car chase), to Galifianakis's Jeff HR exercises that often go wrong ("call security!"). It also proves that both Galifianakis and Fisher are both skilled physical comedians, and their spunk carries the movie through some otherwise lame scenes that include a snake bite, lingerie fitting and a standard car chase.

The meandering middle act chases too many rabbits, but it picks back up when the always hilarious and recent Emmy-winner Patton Oswalt shows up as the bad guy, a nerd named Bruce Springstein who asks to be called "Boss." The unmemorable "Keeping Up with the Joneses" relies too much on appealing stereotypes to make its point and there's nothing at all surprising about it, but its spry energy is good for a minute or two.

#keepingupwiththejoneses #zachgalifianakis #islafisher #galgadot #jonhamm

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