Dying is easy. Comedy is difficult.” Just after Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher) pack their children off for summer camp, mysterious new neighbors move into a house in their secluded cul-de-sac in an Atlanta suburb. They’re Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot). He claims to be a travel writer, a master of many languages who blows glass for a hobby; she’s an Israeli social-media consultant, enmeshed in food blogging and charity work. Read on…
But it’s obvious from the get-go that the glamorous, sophisticated Joneses aren’t who they pretend to be.
So Jeff, who works as a Human Resources counselor at MBI, an aerospace defense corporation, and Karen, who dabbles as a home-design consultant, are determined to unmask their real identities.
That involves suspicious Karen following Natalie to the mall on a lesbian-tinged, lingerie-buying mission – and amiable Jeff lunching with Tim, attempting to bond at a secret, underground Chinese restaurant that specializes in serving live snakes.
Once it’s established that the Joneses are, indeed, covert operatives, the wannabe satirical action/spy caper goes nowhere at a tedious pace.
Formulaically scripted by Michael LeSieur (“You, Me and Dupree”) – with only one topical joke, involving Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner – and lethargically directed by Greg Mottola (“Adventureland,” “Superbad”), it’s a dud.
Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”) aces dorky, while Isla Fisher (“Wedding Crashers”) remains perky. But roguish Jon Hamm (TV’s “Mad Men”) and statuesque Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”) seem to be in another film entirely, never really connecting to their nosy neighbors, the flaccid plot or supporting players like Patton Oswalt and Matt Walsh.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Keeping Up With the Joneses” is a tepid, tedious 3. Don’t bother.