A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Keeping Up with the Joneses is a hilarious hybrid of spy thriller, buddy comedy, and relationship drama. There's a fair amount of violence, including explosions and shootings, though not much blood. Language includes "s--t," "ass," and sparing use of "f--k." Characters kiss/make out passionately, and there's lots of sexual banter and a few racy scenes (women in lingerie, a married couple having sex, couples talking about/planning for sex, flirting, etc.). But nothing gets especially graphic or explicit. Expect some surprisingly insightful observations about long-term marriage and friendships. Isla Fisher, Zach Galifianakis, Gal Gadot, and Jon Hamm star.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES, Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) live happily in the suburbs with their kids. Jeff is an HR manager at a tech company, while Karen works part-time as an interior designer. After sending their kids to camp, they discover that new neighbors, the Joneses, are moving in next door. Tim (Jon Hamm) is a travel writer, and Natalie (Gal Gadot) is a baker, blogger, and philanthropist. They seem too good to be true ... and maybe they are, as Karen and Jeff increasingly get the feeling that the Joneses may actually be spies.
Is it any good?
This satisfyingly irreverent action comedy is just what the doctor ordered for viewers for longing for a fun escape. Fisher and Galifianakis are pitch-perfect as parents who find themselves with too much time on their hands after the kids are shipped away to camp. And they then wind up feeling less than perfect after meeting their new, more sophisticated neighbors. Gadot and Hamm complete the strong quartet of stars; their characters have an entertaining, if a bit predictable, storyline.
What elevates Keeping Up with the Joneses is how it sneaks in insightful observations about marriage, identity, and friendships among its hi-jinks and hilarity. Sure, there are some holes in the plot, but who cares when the end result is good old-fashioned laughs?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Keeping Up with the Joneses handles violence. Since two of the main characters are spies, mayhem and killing are part of the plot. How does the humorous tone affect the impact of the violence?
Do you consider the characters role models? Why or why not?
What does the film have to say about male friendships, and how they form? Is it different for women? Why or why not?
The movie has some surprising takeaways about parenting, especially as children get older and spend longer stretches away from their parents. Does its handling of these subjects seem realistic?
- In theaters: October 21, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: January 17, 2017
- Cast: Gal Gadot, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher, Zach Galifianakis
- Director: Greg Mottola
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, action/violence and brief strong language