Keeping Up With the Joneses Parent Review
This date night distraction is likely better suited for the parents than the kids.
Karen and Jeff Gaffney (Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis) live a Hollywood-esque boring and ordinary life—meaning they have a large, beautiful home on a quiet cul-de-sac in suburbia, often mistaken for hell on earth in movie scripts. While Jeff works at an aerospace company (where many of his neighbors are also employed), Karen is usually at home with the kids. But today their sons are off for two-weeks at summer camp, leaving mom with all sorts of ideas of what she can do with her spare time. After the house across the street sells quickly, friend and real estate agent Meg Craverston (Maribeth Monroe) reveals the buyers completed the cash transaction online and didn’t even look at the place. Karen’s curiosity is piqued and when the new occupants eventually arrive, she’s quick to have them over.
Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) are as mysterious as they are beautiful. Yet his claim of working as a travel writer and her professed career as a social media consultant ring hollow to Karen. After a less-than-stealthy attempt to discover what these people really do, the mother’s intuition is confirmed: The neighbors are engaged in top secret work that involves a security leak at Jeff’s company. With their cover blown, the Joneses conscript the Gaffney’s to assist in the covert task of finding the culprit. And that means dealing with some very dangerous dudes on motorcycles, sneaky snipers and gun wielding henchmen.
A little like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but with less violence and more comedy, Keeping Up With The Joneses was an unexpected, pleasant surprise. Although the humor features a number of sexual references that poke fun at the difficulties parents have finding private time when the kids are at home, there is an overall sense that marriage and family are good things. With great chemistry between Fisher and Galifianakis, the hijinks and slapstick mayhem are funny and often feel authentic.
Despite these positive depictions, parents should approach this title with some caution. First, there is a fair amount of sexual banter, innuendo and fondling scenes that accompany the married humor. The plot contains violent depictions typical of espionage films, such as a character shot in the head (little detail is shown) and many more action sequences featuring weapons and cars. And a sexual expletive is used—however other profanities are relatively infrequent.
Adults at that point in life where responsibilities are getting in the way of feeling like a couple may be willing to overlook some of these inclusions. Still, if you wish to consider this spy spoof as a date night distraction, it would likely be better to entertain the kids with a sitter.Directed by Greg Mottola. Starring Gal Gadot, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Zach Galifianakis. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release October 21, 2016. Updated January 17, 2017
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Keeping Up With the Joneses here.
Keeping Up With the Joneses Parents Guide
Why are the Gaffney’s jealous of the Joneses? What sort of lifestyle does the gorgeous, multi-cultural couple seem to have? What do the Joneses admire about the Gaffney’s and their quiet suburban life? What are the pros and cons of each?
The Joneses are used to handling problems with weapons. The Gaffney’s tackle their troubles with talk. How can good communications skills improve relationships and solve challenges? How does the script poke fun at these two styles of getting things done?