When I got the invitation for the press screening of Keeping Up with the Joneses, it was the first time I had ever heard of this movie. This is unusual. It’s like this movie just popped out of thin air. “Hey, here’s a new comedy directed by Greg Mottola – starring Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, and Gal Gadot that seemingly came from nowhere.” All right then!
Mottola is best known for directing 2007’s smash hit, Superbad and 2009’s critical darling, Adventureland (which is still impossible not to watch if it happens to be on television). It’s somehow been five years since Mottola has directed a theatrical movie. (He did direct Clear History for HBO and directed several episodes of The Newsroom.)
In Keeping Up with the Joneses, Zach Galifianakis plays Jeff Gaffney, a human resources employee at a local tech company. Jeff and his wife, Karen (Isla Fisher), soon become fixated on their new cool and attractive neighbors, Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot). Jeff becomes obsessed because he develops a “man crush” on Tim, while Karen becomes obsessed with her suspicions about some of Tim and Natalie’s unusual behavior. They might be spies!
As it turns out, yes, Tim and Natalie turn out to be secret spies of some sort (it’s never fully explained who they work for), trying to find out information pertaining to the tech company where Jeff works. There are explosions and car chases (actually a pretty good car chase for a movie that’s classified as a “comedy”) and misunderstandings and hijinks. I guess the point of all of this is: this movie exists.