Keeping Up With The Joneses

Director: Greg Mottola

Actors: Gal Gadot

Release Date: Friday 21st October 2016

Genre(s): Factual

Running time: 105 minutes

A suburban couple (Zach Galifinakis and Isla Fisher) becomes embroiled in an international espionage plot when they discover that their seemingly perfect new neighbours (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) are government spies sent to investigate the workers at a nearby arms factory where possible collusion and sabotage may be taking place.

Ugh. Right, let's get this over with.

It should be stated from the outset that throughout Keeping Up With The Joneses, there wasn't one moment in the screening we attended where anyone laughed. Not once. Not even a light chuckle. The entire room was devoid of humour because, well, there certainly wasn't any on screen. The mirthless way in which the cast of actors - none of them without any real comedy chops, except maybe for Jon Hamm - approached the flat and recycled screenplay really does leave you baffled as to how anyone thought this was going to work.

The entire time watching Keeping Up With The Joneses, you'll be struck by just how painfully, horribly unfunny it all is. It's not that it's offensive or racist, or even that it's base and crass humour. It's that there is nothing funny going on here. Zach Galifinakis plays a variation on Steve Carrell's Michael Scott as a friendless corporate functionary who's trying to connect whereas Isla Fisher is a suburban wife who's lost her sex drive for... well, it's not actually explained. When the next-door neighbours arrive, all this changes. Jon Hamm uses his charm in an effortless, throwaway manner that suggests he is literally just here for the cheque while Gal Gadot has almost no screen presence and is literally there for window-dressing. The only moment between the two female leads is either when they're in lingerie or kissing one another. The supporting cast is made up of TV comedy actors, such as Veep's Matt Walsh and Workaholics' Maribeth Monroe, and are given zero to work with throughout.

The screenplay really is a complete dud, but what would you expect from the writer of You, Me And Dupree? Our fault is for thinking anything could come of it. We come next to Greg Mottola, who directed the excellent Superbad and a number of episodes of Arrested Development. He also did the overlooked Adventureland with Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg. Clearly, these were all flukes as there is nothing to suggest that the person who made Superbad made this. There isn't even a shred of effort here or anything other than by-the-numbers directing, all intended to meet a deadline with no second thought to how it looks or feels. What you're left with after watching Keeping Up With The Joneses is the sense that you've had 107 minutes taken from you.

It's hard to comprehend or articulate just how lazy and forgettable this film is. You'd get the same experience from watching it as you would watching paint dry on a blank white wall.