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Action -Spies, Comedy

Keeping Up With The Joneses (2016)

Duration1h 45m
RatingsUK: 12A, USA: PG-13, Spain: 7, 
Source of storyDespite the title, an original screenplay
DirectorGreg Mottola
Writers/ScriptMichael LeSieur
StarringZach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot, Matt Walsh, Patton Oswalt, Ming Zhao, 
RatingsIMDb: 5.9 by 56,838 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 20% by 122 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: Jeff and Karen are a staid suburban couple who have just dispatched their children to summer camp and are wondering what to do. He is a HR guy in an aerospace factory, she an on line house designer. Their life changes when a glamourous couple Tim and Natalie Jones move in across the close and make friends with them. After some investigation, particularly by Karen, they find that the Joneses are actually spies and in no time at all Jeff and Karen find themselves involved in the underworld espionage which somehow involves Jeff’s job as an HR guy in aerospace company. But while he and Karen are excited to be involved, the Joneses seem to hanker for the quiet life.

Content: There is no sex although when Karen follows Natalie into the underwear section of a shop she is confronted by her quarry in sexy underwear, and a discussion about lesbian sex ensues. Jeff is taken by Tim to a hidden Chinese restaurant where they eat snake and Jeff is bitten by the reptile’s severed head.  Jeff seems to think that the world’s problems can be solved by the use of a stress ball. Later there is a lot of driving about in a Mercedes together with hand gun and automatic weapons fire, and finally Jeff and Karen are recruited to assist the spies in the fulfillment of their assignment.

A View: The critics did not like this much, nor did the general public. It could be that the tone of the film was inconsistent. We soon find out that Tim and Natalie are spies, but really that’s it. A version of the script might have had them  changing places with Jeff and Karen, but as it is the action escalates into a typical over the top spoof. Natalie is a show stopper in the underwear, and is obviously the most familiar with firearms, probably due to her Fast & Furious history. But at one point a character is killed by a sniper – hardly comedy. So in the end maybe something you could have on while doing your knitting.

Additional Info:  This movie did not get anywhere near to covering its production costs. One critic said that while you might not go to the cnema to see it, it would be OK on TV.    

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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