Arts & Leisure

“Keeping Up” doesn’t keep up much

JON HAMM and Gal Godot are pretty much just eye candy in "Keeping Up With the Joneses."

JON HAMM and Gal Godot are pretty much just eye candy in “Keeping Up With the Joneses.”

By Jim Tortolano

Imagine a movie that is a combination of “Mr. and Ms. Smith” and a Three Stooges short, and you’ve pretty much got the number of “Keeping Up With the Joneses,” a new action-comedy.

LogoforMovieReviewThe sexy, sophisticated coupling of Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”) is perhaps intended to echo the similar pairing of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but doesn’t strike the same sparks and is lost in a bucket of dumb jokes and physical humor.

Here’s the premise. Nice and dull Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zach Galifiankis and Isla Fisher) live in a suburban paradise into which move a mysterious new couple, Tim and Natalie Jones (Hamm and Gadot).

Instantly skeptical, Karen starts snooping and discovers that her suspicions were right: their new next-door pallies are actually some kind of spy ring, or something. Of course, it doesn’t end there, and the Gaffneys are drawn into increasingly unlikely scenarios and pratfalls that yield few smiles and no laughs.

fairmovielogoThe entire premise is weak and without a hint of wit or surprise. The screenplay, by Michael LeSieur, falls fall short of the weaker efforts of an installment of “Mad Man,” or even “Get Smart,” if you go back that far.

Of course, it’s a pleasure to see Hamm and Gadot, and the movie takes advantage of opportunities to show Gadot in tiny lingerie and Fisher with a dress with cleavage as bounteous as a cornfield in Kansas in July. But none of that makes up for a dull story that generally underuses the talents of four fine actors and comics.

“Keeping Up With the Joneses” is rated PG-13 for some violence, sexiness and language.

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