HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Keeping up with the Joneses
HTS Overall Score:74
“Keeping up with the Joneses” is exactly what you would expect from watchign the trailer. It’s Zach Galifianakis being Zach Galifianakis with Isla Fisher being her adorably cute self and trading one liners with Jon Hamm. Yeah, there’s not much to say beyond that really. I knew from the moment I saw the theatrical trailer what I was going to be watching and it pretty much met those expectations without breaking a sweat and I’m embarrassed to say that I actually liked the flick in schlocky sort of way. It’s nowhere NEAR being a good movie, but I’m a sucker for action comedies that don’t take themselves too seriously, and “Keeping up the Joneses” just coasts along with a big old smile on its face without a care in the world but being loud and having fun.
Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zack and Isla respectively) are your average suburbanite couple. Jeff works in the HR department of an electronics firm that makes high tech chips for the government, while Karen designs toilets for a living and is a housewife to her two children (three if you include her husband, being that we all know “husband” is an ancient Indian word for kid who doesn’t grow up and move away). Things change for the couple when a dashing couple by the name of Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) move into the cul de sac. Tim and Natalie are NOT your average couple. Tim is a travel writer who has stories from EVERY corner of the globe, while Natalie is just appealing, classy and exudes confidence at every turn. Even playing darts and opening beer bottles with style! However, they seem a bit TOO classy for Jeff and Karen, and you guessed it. The couple ARE too classy for regular suburbanites. When Karen gets it into her head that there’s something up with the neighboring couple they find out the truth.
Yup, you guessed it again. Tim and Natalie are actually super spies who have been sent to Jeff’s neighborhood to extract information from him. It seems that someone has been using Jeff’s computer at work to sell information and computer tech to a mysterious arms dealer and the super spy couple have been trying to find out WHO is their man. When the bullets start flying and confusion reigns, Tim and Natalie realize that they can use their burgeoning friends to draw out the mysterious villain and bag him once and for all.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90858[/img]“Keeping up with the Joneses” is one of those films that probably seemed like a sure-fire hit, but really just ends up being another Zach Galifianakis vehicle for his weird trademark laugh and some cheap jokes. In all honesty, I’m shocked that they got Jon Hamm (who just exudes charm and masculinity) and Gal Gadot on board. Both of whom are decent A- listers and seem kind of out of place in the smarmy little comedy. The film has trouble trying to find its footing as it shuffles from being a slapstick comedy, an action flick, or slightly risqué humor (the lingerie scene from the trailers is really weird and feels like it was scripted for another movie rather than this one) from scene to scene.
Jon Hamm is just as charming and full of raw masculinity as he is in “Mad Men”, and Gal Gadot would make even a dead man sit up and take notice, but Isla Fisher and Zach seem an odd couple, even with their neurotic helicopter parent tendencies that they share. It’s an odd pairing for sure, and not every joke or action sequence hits home. In fact, most of the movie is miss after miss after bare miss, and even though I had a fun time watching the chaos unfold, I can’t deny that structurally “Keeping up with the Joneses” just doesn’t hit the right buttons for success. Even the addition of Patton Oswalt during the finale falls flat as even his attempts at humor come across as weak and poorly thought out.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, action/violence and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90866[/img]“Keeping up with the Joneses” sports a rather nice looking 2.40:1 AVC encode for the Blu-ray, and enjoys all the benefits of a modern day digital shoot. Cinematographer Andrew Dunn hasn’t done a whole lot of tweaking to the colors or look of the film, and thus it tends to look rather neutral in nature. Colors are rich and syrupy, while not being overly saturated in the least. Fine detail is excellent for the most part, but I did notice there is some weirdly soft looking focus shots that crop up now and again. A trend that seems to be intentional based upon the repetitions of the softness and how it plays into the scenes. Otherwise, flesh tones look extremely well done and the contrast levels are solid (besides some minor boosting here and there). Blacks are inky black and show off some fantastic shadow detailing in dark suits and the like. It’s a sharp looking transfer, but one that seems to have a weird softness to it that keeps it from being RAZOR sharp, if you know what I mean.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90874[/img]The best part of the whole package is the rocking 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that Fox has put on board, as it plays to the strengths of an action comedy. Dialog is quite prevalently the focus for the first half of the movie (and it is well balanced and crisply locked up front in the center), but once the Joneses reveal who they are and the gunfire starts blasting and cars start roaring down the freeway the track picks up QUITE a bit. The dynamic range during those moments is powerful and has quite a range, and the explosive use of surrounds is awe inspiring at times. the sounds of bullets plinking around the beleaguered suburbanites bounce around from all angles and play very nicely with the directional shifts. The score flows well throughout all channels and the LFE is more than capable of adding some serious weight to the handguns and the rumble of a car engine.
• Deleted Scenes – Four hilarious deleted scenes, plus the original opening.
• Spy Game – The stars reveal their roles in the car chases, love story and goofy bromance that melded into the perfect blend of 'burbs and bullets.
• Keeping Up With Georgia – Go on location and see how Georgia doubled as the backdrop for both a sleepy, idyllic neighborhood and a stunt-filled setting for spycraft.
“Keeping up with the Joneses” is NOT really a good movie. Much like “Killers” (not to be confused with the John Woo movie “The Killer”), it’s stupid fluffy garbage that most people will find derivative and clichéd. I fully understand that this is pure trash rental material, but I had a good number of laughs as the movie progressed as long as I took it in the vein of being trash cinema. I’m sure it sounded really good on paper, but the end result is cheesy schlock that is pretty much worthy of a low-end rental if you like what you see in the trailer. Audio and video are fantastic, and the extras are alight, but don’t go in expecting high art, or even simply GOOD entertainment and you’ll probably have an alright time.
Starring: Isla Fisher, Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot
Directed by: Greg Mottola
Written by: Michael LeSieur
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Hungarian, Thai, Turkish DD 5.1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 105 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 17th, 2017
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Recommendation: Schlocky fun
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