Keeping Up With The Joneses was oddly a selection that made Aaron Neuwirth’s list of 2016 anticipated movie titles over here. So there’s that going for it. For me though it means Keeping Up With The Joneses I get to spend more time with Wonder Woman, I mean Gal Gadot. So there’s also that too. However, even armed with the knowledge of both these aforementioned items I managed to successfully evade the film theatrically despite the fiancee wanting to check it out. I knew the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray would inevitably be coming one day and I had more than a feeling that Brandon Peters would make me the sacrificial lamb. I do not mind being said lamb for Gal Gadot so proverbially slit my wrists now as we’re here to discuss everything Keeping Up With The Joneses down below.
Keeping Up With The Joneses is an American action-comedy film directed by Greg Mottola and written by Michael LeSieur. The movie stars household names such as Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher and Gal Gadot. The flick follows a suburban couple (Galifianakis and Fisher) who begin to suspect their new neighbors (Hamm and Gadot) are spies. Kind of has a Mr. & Mrs. Smith kind of vibe to it, doesn’t it? For some reason or another the film was released on October 21st last year instead of its original April release date. It mattered little as it was ultimately a box office bomb, grossing $28 million worldwide against its $40 million budget. It currently carries a 19% rating on the illustrious Rotten Tomatoes.
So here’s the 411 about what goes down in Keeping Up With The Joneses. The Gaffneys’ lives (Galifianakis and Fisher) are changed by the arrival of new neighbors (Hamm and Gadot) next to them on their quiet, suburban cul-de-sac. The new neighbors’ stunning good looks are matched only by the worldly sophistication of their exciting lives. Tim Jones claims to be an accomplished travel writer whose hobbies include glass blowing, and his wife, Natalie, is a social media consultant, cooking blogger and heroine to Sri Lankan orphans. That’s quite a global spread of accomplishments, huh? And so our original, ordinary suburban couple finds out that it’s not easy keeping up with the Joneses, especially once they learn they’re spies (by spying on them LOL). It’s not before too long that the Gaffneys find themselves in the center of an international espionage matter that propels them above their ordinary cul-de-sac lives. You get the idea, eh?
This all looks good on paper and in computer text, but it’s ultimately the execution of it all that fails here for me. Besides a few rare moments, Keeping Up With The Joneses is not funny. It’s actually quite a drab and boring at times. That’s a shame too even the star power they have to work with here. Literally not much happens the first hour of the film. Even the opening, which is supposed to reel you in front he very get-go, was humdrum and just boring. Had I not been reviewing this or wanting to see more of the lanky Wonder Woman I’d probably have turned it off after the 15-minute mark. Things do get better throughout as the movie’s runtime ticks on, but it’s not one that I can honestly say I’d plump my hard earned money down on. On the flip side, Gal looks radiant throughout (there’s even a lengthy lingerie scene to boot) so there’s always that I suppose.
The disheartening thing about this all is I believe Keeping Up With The Joneses was originally designed to be a slapstick, wild ride. The end product couldn’t have been further from that. Like I said up above, the spy flick is almost laugh-free and quite honestly besides Gal that’s the chief reason I would ever choose to partake in this outing. To me that’s a complete waste because you have a cast here that contains some really strong, comedically talented actors. There’s also really nothing new to be found here. There are not any moments where the screenwriter keeps you guessing because it’s pretty much your run-of-the-mill straightforward comedy with zero surprises or twists. Well that’s not exactly true. I forgot about one scene in particular. So let me clarify. The only scene that surprised me was one that involved a snake and it was utterly disgusting so there’s that. LOL.
Other than what I mentioned up above I’d go on record by saying Keeping Up With The Joneses is completely inconsequential, forgettable and very generic. It just leaves a bland taste in your mouth. My fiancee who really wanted to see this one even fell asleep with a half hour left to go. I doubt she has any interest in revisiting. So despite the few laughs it provided me (mostly because of the unrecognizable, unique way Galifianakis plays his character) the only other redemption I can find here is having whatever fun I can with this talented cast that’s held back by the mediocre blandness of it all. For those reasons I really can’t award this one anything higher than a middle of the road score. I hope y’all agree, but I know there is that 19% of the population out there that really like this one.
But for anyone wondering…
Do you spy on your neighbor? In connection to the DVD/Blu-Ray/4K UHD release of Keeping Up With The Joneses, where Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher find out the hard way what happens when they spy on their neighbors, The Joneses, Fox Home Entertainment conducted a national survey of more than 1,000 consumers digging into our neighborly, or not so neighborly behaviors, revealing fascinating facts about neighborhood life that are not so far off from the movie.
The survey revealed:
- Do onto others. 32% ofpeople admit to spying on their neighbor, and 37% suspect their neighbor is spying on them.
- Curiosity killed the cat. Of those who admit to spying on their neighbors, 66% do so out of general curiosity, and 7% admit they do so out of envy.
- The “it” couple. 14% of people think that they are the “it” couple of the neighborhood, but three out of four (75%) households say there’s no such couple in their hood.
- Know thy neighbor. 77% of people do not know their neighbors’ names, so cut out the spying and make the resolution to get to know them better this year!
- Love thy neighbor. Maybe a little too much – 12% of people have fantasized about dating their neighbor. More men have had this fantasy, with 19% of men admitting they have fantasized about dating a neighbor, compared to only 6% of women.
- Be The Joneses. 42% of respondents said if they were living a double life, they would like to be a secret agent spy.
The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Keeping Up With The Joneses.
- Encoding: HEVC / H.265
- Resolution: 4K (2160p)
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Clarity/Detail: While there’s really nothing wrong with the 4K video presentation of Keeping Up With The Joneses there’s really nothing to write home about it either. Like the movie itself it is what it is. It all gets a little better looking when Gal Gadot is standing in lingerie for a 5-minute scene, but other than that textures, fabrics, pores and other fine detail are the usual ball of wax to be found here. Close-ups look exceptionally chiseled throughout here while there are a few wide shots that present themselves on the softer side. From what I know this flick was shot on 35 mm film (I applaud that) as confirmed by IMDB and finished at a 2K Digital Intermediate (according to here) and obviously upscaled for this 4K presentation.
- Depth: Depth of field is prevalent throughout, but it never feels vast or far beyond save for a few select scenes. However, the onscreen characters all have that three-dimensional pop going for them against the backgrounds so there’s that.
- Black Levels: The black levels are deep, inky and natural throughout. They are most impressive here with the shadow delineations at night and/or in the darker scenes. The nighttime shots that transpire near the end of the film in the cityscape look impeccable and amazing thanks to the HDR infused presentation.
- Color Reproduction: Due the nature of the deployed HDR presentation here the colors throughout are very earthy and natural looking like looking at real life through your own eyes. There’s nothing blown out or overly exaggerated here color-wise. In all honesty I paid a lot of attention to the skies because of the onscreen colors and realized that most days when this film was being shot it was very cloudy. So when you’re wondering why the colors don’t necessarily pop all the time outside that’s why.
- Flesh Tones: The temperatures of the skin tones all look natural and pasty white (a joke because of the mostly white cast) throughout. Gal’s flesh looks extra radiant too. I just wanted to throw that out there.
- Noise/Artifacts: There’s absolutely nothing to really nitpick about here other than a few moments of very minor source noise. Other than that I did not visually see anything that would horrendously distract you from enjoying the film unless you’re talking about the movie itself. Ha ha. Sorry. I could not resist. From the bottom of my heart I really wish this was a better outing. I’m sure I’ll give it a spin some future date to see what I think of it again.
Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Fox’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Keeping Up With The Joneses. Both the 4K UHD disc and the regular 1080p Blu-ray come armed with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track.
- Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- Dynamics: Keeping Up With The Joneses is a weird one to grade here simply because the first hour of the film is an absolute dud, onscreen and aurally. I had to crank my powerful A/V system to even hear this one as it started out so quiet until there was some kind of actual action around the last half hour or so. However, once the action (car chases, explosions, etc.) finally kicked in the 4K presentation actually became a very enjoyable joy ride with loud pops, pans, zooms, etc. here and there while never missing a beat of the score or a spoken word. I can’t say enough good things about the latter half of this film in the dynamics department. It was literally like a whole new film to watch and enjoy. I get that it’s purposely crafted that way, but damn I would think you would want your world rocked right from the get-go. Unfortunately there was only one loud explosion in the immediate beginning and then you could literally hear a pin drop for the next hour until the international espionage mayhem finally began. The funny thing about it is the 4K UHD disc’s main menu is louder and has more punch and teeth to it than the majority of the movie presentation.
- Height: The height channels only got employed and mixed in with the upward firing explosions in this DTS-HD MA surround track.
- Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel exists here, but there’s not enough punch for my preferred tastes. Yes, yes I know this is a comedy, but I wish the soundtrack employed had a little more bottom to it all. However, the LFE channel does make itself useful from the many explosions and gun shots near the end to more subtle uses such as a garbage disposal and the score.
- Surround Sound Presentation: Okay so this is a comedy, but it’s also billed as an action film too. You could have fooled me because the rears were hardly utilized at all until the last half hour of the film when there was actually “action” happening. So during moments of action you have the usual events such as the car chases, brakes squealing, gun shots, explosions, flames engulfing a room, etc. The score would also occasionally bleed into the rear channels, but other than this they were underutilized in my opinion. I would have loved to see some more ambience and effects haunt them.
- Dialogue Reproduction: Just like I said about everything else up above the audio was low too for the dialogue, especially in the beginning. Spoken words were intelligible and clear, but you just had to turn it up a little more than usual to hear without straining. Or am I going deaf? LOL. YMMV.
Keeping Up With The Joneses 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set comes up really short in the Special Features Department. Granted you get the feature film in both 4K and 1080p HD presentations, but you’re left with only four shallow extras on the Blu-ray disc. In addition there is a Digital HD copy of the film redeemable in either iTunes or UltraViolet, but not both. So without further ado and anymore wasting of your time let’s tackle these four extras down below in a little more detail.
- Spy Game (HD, 11:44) – The stars of the film reveal the chemistry they shared to make this the perfect blend of suburbs and bullets. LOL. Jon Hamm calls this a classic spy film with high stakes. Hmm. Did I watch the same film? He also goes on about how he knew Zach for a long time so it was good to work together. Gal Gadot also chimes in and says this is her first comedy. The cool thing about this extra is that there’s a lot of behind the scenes look at the various onset takes and stunts. We see it all from a behind the scenes camera perspective.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 18:17) – Here we have a total of four deleted scenes, Original Jeff’s Day At MBI, Tim Bandages Jeff’s Hand, What Ales Ya? and Original Carl Pronger plus the film’s original opening. There’s a Play All functionality available here too.
- Keeping Up With Georgia (HD, 5:04) – This one basically shows you how Atlanta, Georgia doubled as the backdrop location-wise for all the spy games and neighborhood shenanigans that go down in this movie. The cast and crew all seem to love shooting in Atlanta and they talk about it in here. Even an international location was shot in an open air mall in Atlanta.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:26)
- Gallery (HD)
So there you have it. I literally have nothing left to say. Maybe it’s part ignorance or maybe it’s because I’m so into DC’s Wonder Woman, but I only had a mediocre time with Keeping Up With The Joneses. It made me laugh little but only gave me minor pleasure outside of my everyday life. It did have a decent looking and sounding 4K presentation, albeit very light on the extras, but that’s A-okay with me. That means less to review and more free personal time for me. So win-win! In hindsight though I can only recommend the full price purchase of this one to the fans only for the time being. I believe that all others curious in this title should either wait until the price is right or find it in a Redbox. I’m just being honest. Enjoy if you can!
Wonder Woman Gets A Bit Slutty
in Keeping Up With The Joneses
on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray