If there is one comedic actor I have to grow tired of outside of Seth Rogen, it’s Zach Galifianakis. I’ve never been a fan of his work and the only thing I’ve liked him in was a show named Tru Calling from over a decade ago. A couple of weeks back I watched a film called Mastermind which combined the annoying personality of Galifianakis and the hack comedy writing of Saturday Night Live. Now I didn’t do a review of that film but I can tell you now that is it a lock for my top 5 worst films of the year. Based on this, it would be safe to assume that this film has the recipe for being an unmitigated disaster.
Our film begins with a married couple living in Suburban Georgia, Jeff and Karen Gaffney. Their kids are gone for the summer to camp and they have the house to themselves, so what do they do? Catch up on their Hulu queue of course. Jeff is a Human Resources manager for an aerospace company and spends his days being a mediator for employee disputes. This is apparently a useless job according to the movie but you would think being an HR manager for a major aerospace company would have some level of importance but that wouldn’t be funny now, would it? His wife Karen is an interior designer who decides the best place to put a urinal in someone bathroom. When a mysterious new couple moves in next door, Karen (Isla Fisher) is immediately suspicious and decides to ‘rear window’ her new neighbors to discover what their true intentions are.
I’m not sure if Hollywood is intentionally writing comedy that isn’t funny or if they simply don’t know what makes a person laugh anymore. The jokes in this film are on a sitcom level. Imagine watching an episode of Big Bang Theory without the laugh track. You suddenly realize what you’re watching isn’t nearly as funny as you once thought. The film tries so hard to get a laugh, you notice the pauses in where something was supposed to be knee-slapping funny but simply fails. The plot doesn’t offer much improvement. Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman!) star in the film as a couple of spies for a secret agency. The problem is that they are a couple of the worst spies ever. Mainly because they get their cover blown a minimum of four times throughout the film. The spies believe that Jeff is committing espionage on his work computer so they moved to the home to keep a closer eye on them. All this to find out that Jeff’s other neighbor had been selling tech on his computer the whole time you know, Jeff is just so gullible.
Too many times, we get comedies like Keeping Up With the Jonses where the trailer makes us groan and not laugh. All of the best gags in the film are shown in the trailer and there isn’t many of them. The best scene in the film is a gag with Hamm, Galifianakis, and Bobby Lee in an underground extreme snake restaurant and that’s in the first 15 minutes. Even watching Wonder Woman in lingerie isn’t as satisfying as you thought it would be. The story is thin, the acting is tame, and the jokes are well…shite. One thing to the film’s credit, it had a potential story to tell about the plague of married couples trying to find themselves in a boring quiet suburban life but can’t even find a way to take advantage of the angles of their film that works. Keeping Up With the Jonses is simply not funny and not even worth a rental. You won’t miss anything giving this film a pass.