Keeping Up with the Joneses Movie Review

Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher are two performers that made themselves known to the moviegoing masses with some outlandish roles where they got to let their freak flags fly in The Hangover and Wedding Crashers, respectively. So it’s a bit disconcerting to see them playing the typical dull suburban married couple in Keeping Up with the Joneses. Typical is a word that can be applied to a lot of what we see here. The film isn’t bad. It’s just ordinary. The leads aren’t bad either. They’re just more boring than we’re used to and a by the numbers screenplay doesn’t help them any.

The aforementioned actors play Jeff and Karen. He is a Human Resources manager whose daily routine consists of handing out stress balls and initiating trust exercises. She is mostly obsessed with the home decor of their lovely abode in a cul-de-sac, including the chic installation of a urinal. Some needed excitement comes to them when new neighbors move across the way and they’re the interesting and impossibly good looking Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm and Gil Gadot). Tim is the handsome travel writer. Natalie is the gorgeous cooking blogger/social media consultant who also rescues orphans (her LinkedIn page wins).

It’s not long before Karen’s nosiness has her thinking maybe they didn’t quite hit the neighbor jackpot. Turns out she’s right as the Joneses are actually secret government agents investigating nefarious happenings at Jeff’s workplace.

The Joneses real careers means we’re treated to a threadbare subplot involving tracking an arms dealer and some rather tepid action sequences. Yet this is mostly about the chemistry between the four leads as their marriages and friendships develop. It’s just too bad this is contained in a completely unimaginative formulaic manner.

The PG-13 rating does leave the raunch factor to a surprising minimum. This is a script where the sight of two women kissing (oh my!) is treated as a big punchline. Gadot does manage to hold her own playing against these three others known a bit more for the genre (as anyone who’s watched Hamm on SNL can attest to). We see some potential in moments as the bromance between Galifianakis and Hamm grows, but not enough. Greg Mottola, who’s made some fine comedic efforts with Superbad and the underrated Adventureland, is not at the top of his game here. This is the type of picture that the content yet slightly bored suburbanites depicted here might view with some contentment but mostly be bored. And not talk about it much afterwards.

** (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: October 28-30

For the previous two weekends at the box office, we’ve seen a total of seven features roll out in wide release. As the final frame of October is upon us, we just have one to close the month out – Inferno. This is the third teaming of director Ron Howard with Tom Hanks in adapting Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels to the screen. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

While Inferno should have no trouble debuting at #1, just how much it makes is a legit question. I’ve got it pegged at just over $30M, though my blog readers tend to disagree with 64% saying my prediction is Too High. 23% think I’m Just About Right with 13% believing I’m Too Low.

As for holdovers, Boo! A Madea Halloween had a much larger than anticipated debut last weekend (more on that below). Similar Madea titles that opened in the same range dropped about 60% in their second weekend. Could Halloween dip a bit lower since, you know, this is Halloween weekend coming up? Perhaps, but probably not by much.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back should lose close to half its audience. Same for Ouija. The Accountant in weekend #3 has been experiencing good worth of mouth and its drop may not be quite as pronounced (I have it leaping over Evil).

And with that – the top 5 predictions for the weekend:

1. Inferno

Predicted Gross: $30.6 million

2. Boo! A Madea Halloween

Predicted Gross: $12.7 million (representing a drop of 55%)

3. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Predicted Gross: $12.4 million (representing a drop of 46%)

4. The Accountant

Predicted Gross: $8.7 million (representing a drop of 36%)

5. Ouija: Origin of Evil

Predicted Gross: $7.3 million (representing a drop of 48%)

Box Office Results (October 21-23)

In an unexpected box office twist, Tyler Perry outpaced Tom Cruise this weekend as Boo! A Madea Halloween scored a terrific debut with $28.5 million, more than double my meager $12.5M estimate. This marks the third highest debut for a Madea titled pic and ensures this character will be having other holiday fun (Thanksgiving’s probably next) into the future.

It was expected to top the charts, but Madea blocked that as Jack Reacher: Never Go Back debuted in second with $22.8 million (just below my $23.9M estimate). The Tom Cruise sequel suffered from middling reviews and it was following up a predecessor that isn’t exactly beloved. It should struggle to make the $80M earned by the first Reacher and it probably won’t.

Ouija: Origin of Evil didn’t scare up as much business as its predecessor, taking in $14 million for third place (I predicted $15.2M). With a lackluster C Cinemascore grade (same as the first one), it should fade fast, but may not have too calamitous a drop next weekend due to the Halloween holiday.

With all the newbies premiering, The Accountant slipped to fourth with $13.6 million. My prediction? $13.6M! At least I got something right this weekend! Its total stands at $47M.

The Girl on the Train was fifth with $7.1 million and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. The thriller has grossed $58M in three weeks.

The Zack Galifianakis led comedy Keeping Up with Joneses had to settle for seventh place with a poor $5.4 million, well below my $10.1M forecast. It actually performed worse than the star’s comedy from earlier this month, Masterminds. 

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: October 21-23

It’s a particularly crowded weekend at the box office with four new wide releases hitting the multiplexes and another in semi-wide release. We have Tom Cruise’s action sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween, horror prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil, and the Zach Galifianakis led comedy (his second this month) Keeping Up with the Joneses. You can find my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

To add to the clutter, there’s also the faith-based drama I’m Not Ashamed, which debuts on around 500 screens. I’ve got it pegged at $2 million for its start.

So how will all this shake out? Well, it’s probable that the four newbies will all land in the top 5. I have Reacher rather easily winning the weekend with Ouija as the runner-up. The Accountant (which had a solid debut in the top spot this past weekend) could fall to third with Boo! and Joneses rounding out the top five.

Here’s how the blog readers see my picks for the newcomers:

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back: 50% Too Low, 41% Just About Right, 9% Too High

Ouija: Origin of Evil: 46% Just About Right, 27%, Too High, 27% Too Low

Boo! A Madea Halloween: 33% Too High, 33% Too Low, 33% Just About Right (how about that?!?!)

Keeping Up with the Joneses: 46% Too Low, 39% Just About Right, 15% Too High

Truth be told, this weekend is pretty unpredictable with all the fresh product coming our way. Let’s see what happens, but here’s how I have the top 5:

1. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Predicted Gross: $23.9 million

2. Ouija: Origin of Evil

Predicted Gross: $15.2 million

3. The Accountant

Predicted Gross: $13.6 million (representing a drop of 45%)

4. Boo! A Madea Halloween

Predicted Gross: $12.5 million

5. Keeping Up with the Joneses

Predicted Gross: $10.1 million

Box Office Results (October 14-16)

The numbers were quite good for Ben Affleck’s The Accountant as it scored a #1 opening with $24.7 million, easily topping my $17.6M prediction. Even though reviews were quite mixed, audiences liked what they saw it scored an A Cinemascore grade.

The Girl on the Train dipped to second in its sophomore weekend with a 50% drop to $12.2 million (a bit under my $13.4M projection). The Emily Blunt thriller has taken in $46 million thus far.

The stand-up comedy concert pic Kevin Hart: What Now? debuted in third with a decent $11.7 million, not quite matching my $13.5M estimate.

Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was fourth with $8.9 million (I said $8.2M) to bring its tally to $65 million. Deepwater Horizon rounded out the top five with $6.4 million (I said $6.8M) and it’s made $49 million.

Last (and least), Max Steel was met with a massive shrug from audience as it opened in 11th place with $2.1 million. I went a bit higher with $3.8M. Look for this one On Demand quite soon.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Keeping Up with the Joneses Box Office Prediction

Some familiar faces populate the action comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses, out next Friday. In fact, one of those faces is Zach Galifianakis, who just appeared in Masterminds, which performed poorly. Joneses and Masterminds have this in common: both were delayed by their studios, which usually isn’t a good sign.

This one costars Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, and Gadot in a tale of a bored suburban couple whose lives are spiced up when a couple of secret agents move next door. Greg Mottola, director of Superbad and Adventureland, is behind the camera.

Keeping Up was originally scheduled to come out in April before its push back. Even with the talent involved, I’m not so sure the marketing campaign has been strong enough (or the trailers quite funny enough) to cause it to break out. There’s not much direct competition in the comedy genre, but there are a host of other pics clamoring for the attention of adult audiences.

This should hover right around low double digits. It should do better than the $6.5 million premiere of Galifianakis’s aforementioned early October effort Masterminds. Unfortunately, that’s not saying a whole lot for this late October release.

Keeping Up with the Joneses opening weekend prediction: $10.1 million

For my Jack Reacher: Never Go Back prediction, click here:

For my Ouija: Origin of Evil prediction, click here:

For my Boo! A Madea Halloween prediction, click here: