"Familiar but Energetic Spy Comedy"
What You Need To Know:
The plot to KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES has been done before, but the filmmakers nail both the character-driven comedy and impressive action sequences. Hilarious performances by the four lead actors play perfectly to their respective strengths. KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES has a moral worldview, with a positive view of marriage, but it has enough foul language and crude innuendo to warrant strong or extreme caution.
(B, PP, Ho, LL, VV, SS, A, M) Light moral worldview with a positive view of marriage and strong patriotic elements, plus a brief scene of two women kissing for comedic effect as they try to distract villains; 12 obscenities and profanities (including one “f” word and two Jesus profanities (one is said with “sweet baby” in front of it so it’s perhaps less malicious and more borderline), plus a couple obscene gestures; strong action, often comic violence includes a couple car chases that involve bad guys flipping from their crashed motorcycles, a couple major bomb explosions, two shootout scenes, a knife thrown into a villain’s throat bloodlessly, and some hand-to-hand combat; some crude innuendo and sexual references, sometimes intended for comical effect, includes references to female body parts, married couple frolics under blanket before being interrupted, a reference to oral sex when woman catches husband staring at a woman in a short skirt, and two women fake kiss passionately to distract villain so they can stab him with a knife; no nudity, but woman emerges in skimpy lingerie in one scene, it’s implied a married couple are naked under a blanket, and a joke about a married woman wearing lingerie under her coat for her husband; alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, lying, manipulation, and treason.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES is a spy comedy about a bland suburban couple, who get caught up in a dangerous adventure when they discover their new neighbors are CIA agents.
There have been versions of spy comedies throughout the history of Hollywood. However, in recent years, there seems to be a glut of them. So, the arrival of a new spy comedy might seem cause for more despair from moviegoers thirsting for a few original ideas. Thankfully, however, KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES manages to be fairly entertaining because it takes its hackneyed premises and puts enough thought, energy and spin on them to make them reasonably fun.
Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) are a bland suburban couple. They have just packed their children off to summer camp. They initially fantasize about having two weeks of unbridled passion and partying together. Instead, though, they just wind up watching THE GOOD WIFE on Netflix.
Jeff is a thoroughly boring human resources manager. He works for a software company that manages microchips filled with classified information for the CIA. However, Jeff’s unwittingly drawn the attention of their mysterious new neighbors, Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot), because someone is using his work computer to pass vital secrets to an evildoer named Scorpion.
Karen suspects the Joneses aren’t who they say they are, but Jeff initially scoffs at her for having a wild imagination and sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. However, when they discover the Joneses have bugged their house via a gift they gave them, Jeff tries to find out what’s really happening. Eventually, he and Karen get caught in the middle of an ever-crazier CIA operation.
Has this plot been done before? Yes, and sometimes in terrific fashion in movies like the 1979 classic THE IN-LAWS. You can add this movie, however, to the list of more successful Hollywood endeavors. Director Greg Mottola (SUPERBAD) nails both the character-driven comedy and some impressive action sequences. He’s helped by hilarious performances from the four lead actors, who play perfectly to their respective strengths.
The movie has a refreshingly limited amount of offensive language, although there are a few strong obscenities and profanities. There are also some raunchy lines of innuendo, and comical foreplay between Jeff and Karen. Finally, in one scene the two women kiss each other briefly with fake passion to distract a villain.
So, although KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES has a moral worldview, with a positive view of marriage, it has enough foul language and comical, crude innuendo to warrant strong or extreme caution. That said, mature moviegoers may find the movie to be a solid humorous distraction from what’s arguably been a contentious, depressing year.