Keeping Up with the Joneses
The first time you got your heart broken. The long, painful death of a beloved parent. A six-year-old kid finding out, all on the same day, that there's no Santa Claus, his dad's actually gay and his parents are getting a divorce. All of these things are funnier than the supposed comedy, Keeping Up with the Joneses.
My local multiplex showed this would-be Mr. and Mrs. Smith's Neighbors in a tiny theater, and it was still emptier than a bulimic's belly. I didn't smirk, smile, chuckle or chortle let alone laugh. Not one fucking time. The rest of the audience, all 10 of them, managed three guffaws total. And at least one sounded like it was out of pity. Or disbelief. Or because the person next to them farted.
The "high concept" of this lowdown loser is, "What would happen if the newest couple in the cul-de-sac turned out to be spies, and their dull-as-river-rocks neighbors figured it out, and they all got into a zany adventure, and everyone learned a little something about life in the process?" In the right hands, it could have been a winner. Director Greg "Mot The Barber" Mottola's hands might as well have been hooks. More on that later.
Suburban spouses Jeff (Zack "The Hangover Was A Fluke" Galifianakis) and Karen Gaffney (Isla "Fun Size" Fisher) are so sexually repressed that when their real estate agent suggests they take advantage of their kids being away at camp to have some daytime sex, Jeff unironically tells her to "Keep it PG-13." At an Asian restaurant, Jeff marvels at all the "ethnic condiments." He pronounces "jalapenos" with a hard "j." When she's not walking around their huge house in her pjs, Karen hits the grocery store in a minivan. These two are so square they're cubes. They're so whitebread they glow in the dark. And not a second of it is believable.
When the sexy, glamorous Joneses, Tim (Jon "Green Eggs And" Hamm") and Natalie (Gal "Waiting For" Gadot), move in, Karen immediately thinks something's rotten in the State of Georgia. What the peach tree fuck? Georgia?! There's not one Southern accent to be found in Keeping Up with the Joneses, yet we're supposed to believe it takes place outside Atlanta? Wow. Just, wow.
There should be a game called "Take a Whack at a Hack" in which pissed off moviegoers get to throw axes at overpaid, under-talented hacks like Mottola. Think of it like a more righteous, much bloodier dunk tank.
People couldn't sing the praises of Mottola's Superbad and Adventureland loudly enough, but let me fill you in on a little secret . . . they were both more overrated than swimming pool sex. Maybe Hollywood will finally wise the fuck up after Keeping Up with the Joneses and kick Mottola's ass back to TV, or McDonalds, where it belongs.
October 22, 2016