Keeping Up with the Joneses

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Laura Clifford 
Keeping Up with the Joneses

Robin Clifford 

Karen (Isla Fisher, "Wedding Crashers") and Jeff Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis) are looking forward to some adult time after shipping their kids off to summer camp, but when ultra glamorous and accomplished Natalie (Gal Gadot, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice") and Tim Jones (Jon Hamm) move in across the street, they'll spend the duration "Keeping Up with the Joneses."

Laura:
At least since the time of 1979's "The In-Laws," throwing average Joes in with covert operatives has been mined for comedy, but "You, Me and Dupree's" Michael LeSieur's run of the mill screenplay has about as many laughs as a second tier sitcom. Director Greg Mottola ("Superbad," "Adventureland") has at least managed to get some lively performances from his cast - particularly his female leads - but overall this one is a contrived dud.

As soon as Karen spies the gorgeous man and leggy stunner arriving at their new home she thinks something's off and after the couple pay a visit she's even more convinced.  While Jeff is an HR supervisor and Karen's latest interior design job involves a urinal, Tim's a travel writer and Natalie's a food blogger who raises funds for Indonesian orphans.  The Joneses gift the Gaffneys with a piece of Tim's hand blown glass.  Any guesses why? That's as easy to figure out as how Jeff's habit of allowing everyone at his company without Internet access (they're from the 'secure' area upstairs) to use his computer will work into the plot.

As Karen suspiciously trails Natalie about town, Jeff gets to work making a best friend, following Tim to a secret 'snake restaurant' capped with some indoor skydiving.  Once Karen discovers what the Joneses' gift really is, they're whipped into conflict over stolen microchips, the Joneses their only allies.  Or are they?

"Keeping Up with the Joneses" central theme is its dual marital conflicts, the man with the boring job happy with his lot while his wife craves adventure, the man with the exciting career ready to settle down while his wife, well, still craves adventure.  The film's cast sells the idea more than the script which is content to recycle sight gags and a climax we've seen many times or direction which allows high end cars to crash through barriers with nary a scratch to show for it.  Fisher makes Karen's bumbling enthusiasm for amateur sleuthing a vicarious pleasure and she's nicely contrasted with Gadot's lethal cool.  A radically slimmed down Galifianakis is endearingly clueless, but Hamm, who's comedic ability is well proven, is bland.  (The film also stars 'Veep's' Matt Walsh and Kevin Dunn.  Patton Oswalt has a glorified cameo.)

Grade:  C-

Robin:
Robin did not see this film.
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