Greg Mottola, the man behind the hysterical hit Superbad and the awkwardly dreary Adventureland, is back with his latest effort, Keeping Up With the Joneses, which falls somewhere between the two.
Giddy plaid shirt-wearing and family loving cul-de-sac simpletons, the Gaffney’s (Galifianakis and Fisher), get quite the surprise when the mysteriously perfect Joneses (Hamm and Gadot) move in across the street.
After watching them arrive home at 3am with sleek silver briefcases and fancy get-ups, curiosity compels the Gaffney’s to investigate their new neighbours. A mere days old acquaintance is tested when the Joneses not exactly well hidden secret life as spies is revealed, and the two regular folk are suddenly pulled into dangerous territory.
Those expecting Mr and Ms Smith meet the ‘burbs are out of luck. With the exception of one exhilarating car shoot-em-up, Keeping Up with the Joneses tones down the action to focus more on the Gaffney’s attempts to get out of this intense situation and back to their everyday lives, which is a welcome change.
That’s mostly where originality stops, however. It’s all highly predictable – plot points, jokes… you name it. A number of gags hit the mark thanks to the comic timing of the actors, with Isla Fisher a standout in this ensemble thanks to her effortless delivery.
Laughable moments aside, the film really should have been called ‘keeping up with the change in pace’ – it can’t quite figure out where it wants to go. And this occurs so often that it really should come with a warning for those with motion sickness.
In cinemas: October 20, 2016
Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot
Directed by: Greg Mottola