Spies in suburbia!
Glamour-puss couples hiding in plain sight, using generic aliases. Would you believe Mr. and Mrs. Smith? How about Mr. and Mrs. Jones? (Monickers that will fool folks for sure. You bet they will.)
Living in lovely homes (which will be spectacularly destroyed).
Riding about in nice vehicles (which will also be destroyed).
Interacting with neighbors, who won’t have a clue that there’s something fishy about the folks down the block.
Working through the kinds of relationship issues common to many couples: work-life balance, the various ways husbands and wives get on each other’s nerves. Etc., and etc.
Cue a sense of deja vu.
Once upon a time (it was 2005), there was “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” starring Brad and Angelina in happier days. Now there’s “Keeping Up with the Joneses,” starring Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot, glamour-pusses of slightly lower wattage.
And you’re right. There really are no new ideas in Hollywood.
There are, however, variations on themes. In the case of “Joneses,” the variation is that the main characters are the across-the-street neighbors, played by Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher. They’re a nice-enough couple who get entangled with the spy folks and have all kinds of spy-movie-type excitement injected into their humdrum lives. Excitement, in Galifianakis’ case, by having a cobra-venom episode during a visit to a snake-serving restaurant with bon vivant Mr. Jones. Excitement, in Fisher’s case, by having a sexy lingerie encounter with drop-dead gorgeous Mrs. Jones.
Thus is humdrum banished in this tepid comedy, where the jokes are lame — a character answers to the name Bruce Spring-stein, and demands to be called the Boss — and the de rigueur car-chase sequence goes on far, far too long.
There’s no problem keeping up with these Joneses. The audience is way ahead of them every step of the way.
Keeping Up with the Joneses
☆☆ 1/2 out of 5
Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot.
Director: Greg Mottola.
Running time: 1:45.
Rated: PG-13, for sexual content, action/violence and brief strong language.