Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Keeping Up with the Jones

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  I don't bother keeping up with the Jones, they're too fast.  (Dumb jokes are dumb!)

Keeping Up with the Jones – 3 out of 5

If movies have taught me anything, it’s that there are spies everywhere in this country and they are all trying to act like everyday people but, when danger hits, they will pull your ass out of the fire.  We’ve seen it before in movies and Keeping Up with the Jones is just another example of this trope.  Now, just because it’s doing what has been done before doesn’t mean that it isn’t without merit and that their take isn’t any good.  Plus, it’s got Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot playing a married couple and that fact alone is pretty awesome!

If they were a real life couple, the fabric of reality would tear apart over the force
of their combined charisma and overall likability.

Summer is gearing up to be one of peace and tranquility for Jeff (Zach Galifianakis) and Karen Gaffney (Isla Fisher), as they drop their kids off for summer camp.  However, after new neighbors; Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie Jones (Gal Gadot), move in next door, Karen starts to become suspicious.  It isn’t long before they learn that there’s something more to these two and the question becomes:  Are they here to hurt the Gaffney’s or protect them?

I would say protect because who could honestly want to hurt these two?

Keeping Up with the Jones has a decent and promising premise and a great cast that has star power, talent and comedic chops to back it up.  The movie definitely has its moments and I found quite a bit of it to be very funny and fairly entertaining but it’s not a perfect film.  There are some minor setbacks that stopped its potential and kept it at just an average feature.

Question:  How tall is Gal Gadot?  Let me phrase that another way:
How short is Isla Fisher?

For me, the biggest issue I had for this film involved balance.  Essentially, this film is an action comedy that involves super spies and two suburban cul-de-sac dwellers.  The movie has some really exciting and fun action sequences and there’s some very funny moments but the feature seems to want to rely more on the silly and goofy humor of the two ordinary folks than the dry, straight man humor of the spies.  Don’t get me wrong, some of the silliness if very enjoyable but there did feel like there was too much of it and too often it felt the same.  Jon Hamm is a very charismatic man and a funny one as well and he does the straight man gags so fantastically and, from my perspective, these moments were infinitely stronger.  Add in Gal Gadot matching Hamm’s charm and his dry wit and you had an abundance of clever material ripe for the picking but, sadly, the film felt hesitant on tapping.

If I had a dollar for every time I jumped through a window...
I'd actually have no money because I don't do that.

This complaint is pretty minor because, like I said, I did find this film funny.  It’s really hard not to when you have Galifianakis, Fisher and Hamm all in one film.  Gal Gadot even proves she has the chops to be very amusing as she has many sequences where she utilizes her character flawlessly for the laughs. This group of four also proves to all have some great chemistry as they worked together.  Galifianakis and Fisher really feel like a real middle-class suburban couple and there’s no denying that Hamm and Gadot look great together and their natural charisma and smoldering good looks work stupidly well in concert.  On paper, this film should really be a fun, wild and hilarious ride—it just stops a little bit short of that. 

He's so talented and handsome and funny that I kinda hate him for that.

For the most part, Keeping Up with the Jones isn’t a bad film.  The story works for what it is, our stars all perform their jobs excellently, and the movie is both funny and filled with some great action sequences.  The only issue is the film doesn’t quite give the drier, more subdued humor its fair shake and relies heavier on the wacky, the “non-spies are screaming their heads off because their soccer parents in a dangerous situation” gags.  These moments work occasionally but sorta made the entire film feel repetitive at times and like it wasn’t latching on and utilizing its full potential.

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