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Keeping Up with the Joneses Movie Review

Keeping Up with the Joneses
20th Century Fox
Reviewed by: Tami Smith, Film Reviewer for Shockya
Grade: C+
Director: Greg Mottola
Written by: Michael LeSieur
Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot
Release Date: October 21st, 2016

Keeping up with the Joneses is a phrase that originated with a comic strip created by Arthur Momad in 1913. It depicts the social climbing McGinis family who struggle to “keep up” with their neighbors, the Joneses. The idiom has remained popular long after the strip’s end, and the philosophy of “keeping up with the Joneses” has widespread effects on some societies, where conspicuous consumption occurs when people care about their standard of living in relation to their peers.

How is all the above related to the upcoming film Keeping Up with the Joneses? The short answer: It is not.

The film tells the story of the Gaffney family one that seems to have-it-all. After the kids leave for summer vacation Jeff Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis), a Human Resources specialist in a large aviation Atlanta company, and his wife Karen (Isla Fisher), an interior designer/stay-at-home mom, feel like temporary empty-nesters and do not know what to do with all their spare time. Karen’s imagination starts racing about long marital sex sessions and upscale wine, but as usual they settle on pop-corn and a rented DVDs. Help comes with the arrival of new neighbors: Tim Jones (Jon Hamm), who claims to be a travel-writer and his alleged wife Natalie (Gal Gadot) who spends her time shopping for lingerie, while teasing the male population of this small Atlanta suburb. The new neighbors give the Gaffneys a gift, a table-top red glass stand – a “conversation piece” as Tim Jones calls it. Events go south once the gift breaks, exposing a recording device. The Gaffneys feel violated, their lives fall apart and so does the plot.

After sitting through 100 minutes of this action comedy filled with explosive devices, poop and other physical jokes that do not work, car chases, gun shootings, jumps to swimming pools and a plot that does not make sense one feels wasted. Director Greg Mottola and writer Michael LeSieur gift us with an epilogue which does not help either.

Zach Galifianakis plays the cuddly Jeff Gaffney while Isla Fisher chimes in as his hysterical freelancer wife Karen. Both roles are a waste of their talent. Ditto for John Hamm in the role Tim Jones as unsuccessful James Bond wannabe. Gal Gadot gives Natalie, Tim’s partner/wife, a video game stick figure quality.

The Gaffney family is not going anywhere on the social strata. They have nothing to keep up with and so does this summer comedy that got an October release date.

Rated PG-13. 100 minutes. © Tami Smith, Film Reviewer
Story: C+
Acting: B
Technical: B
Overall: C+

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