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The Joneses Tries to Shake Up the 'Hood

Oct 21, 2016

As long as there's suburbia, there will always be movies about near-middle-aged couples reckoning with their dull lives. Greg Mottola's Keeping Up with the Joneses gives us a new incarnation of these woebegone creatures, Karen (Isla Fisher) and Jeff (Zach Galifianakis), who live on a street with maple in its name and spend Friday nights cozied up with the DVR. Enter new neighbors Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie (Gal Gadot), a dashing travel writer and a purring, leggy sophisticate with a food blog. Too perfect to be real, they're actually spies, which is the tiny circular track the movie's jokes run on.

The worn-out gags include one in which Karen and Natalie try on racy lingerie together and another in which Tim takes the meek Jeff to a secret restaurant that serves only snake. Still, at its best Keeping Up with the Joneses riffs on something very real: the existential loneliness of living in a place that's just too perfect. Everyone needs new friends now and then--even ones who make you eat snake.

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