Keeping Up With the Joneses Preview

This week was supposed to be the end of the 1986 cycle but it has been extended a week. Why? Because it’s time for the final BMT Live of the year! Looking ahead to November and December we became panicked at the weak BMT prospects on the horizon. We felt like the time was now. Of course you’re probably all thinking that we just have to be watching Boo! A Madea Halloween. I wish. Unfortunately our cousins across the pond have yet to discover Tyler Perry (shame!). Once again defeated by the lackluster UK release schedule we instead turned our attention to the other comedy released last week to even worse reviews. That’s right, the Jon Hamm, Zach Galifianakis, and Isla Fisher comedy Keeping up with the Joneses. By all accounts it’s supposed to be pretty boring. Great. Thanks UK. We could have been having fun watching Madea say “Hellur” to some ghosts. And now we have NOTHING. Boo on you!… A Madea Halloween. Let’s go!

Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016) – BMeTric: 9.0

(There is no plot this week! This movie is small enough that the archive hasn’t taken a snapshot since the 14th when the movie was not open to reviews. Interesting that this hasn’t happened yet, but we’ve mostly done larger movies than this for BMT Live! And those tend to get earlier premieres outside of the United States.) – 2 stars –  “Keeping Up with the Joneses” has a few mild laughs here and there … and I have the feeling that it might wind up playing better on television, where all the sitcom trappings might seem more at home. As a prospect for going out one night and paying money for tickets and parking and popcorn in order to see it, however, it comes up decidedly short.

(The reviews I found for this film are kind of surprisingly okay. Basically like … don’t spend money on this film but if you’ve stumbled into the theater you won’t demand your money back at the end. Indiewire gave is a similarly middling review. Promising in general, but will only make me wish I was watching Boo! A Madea Halloween all the more.)

Trailer –

(I feel like this trailer must give away the entire film. There are some OK gags in there (like the cobra wine), but I’m afraid we’ll just watch these mildly entertaining scene cut between fluff.)

Directors – Greg Mottola – (Known For: Superbad; Paul; Adventureland; The Daytrippers; BMT: Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Directed a number of episodes of the short-lived TV show Undeclared. Probably how he ended up getting the Superbad gig.)

Writers – Michael LeSieur (written by) – (BMT: You, Me and Dupree; Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Writing the upcoming new adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.)

Actors – Zach Galifianakis – (Known For: Into the Wild; The Hangover; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); Up in the Air; It’s Kind of a Funny Story; Due Date; The Campaign; The Muppets; Puss in Boots; Dinner for Schmucks; Youth in Revolt; Muppets Most Wanted; BMT: G-Force; Corky Romano; Are You Here; Bubble Boy; The Hangover Part III; Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie; What Happens in Vegas; Gigantic; The Hangover Part II; Out Cold; Masterminds; Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Has won two primetime Emmys for his online talk show Between Two Ferns.)

Isla Fisher – (Known For: Nocturnal Animals; Now You See Me; The Great Gatsby; Wedding Crashers; Definitely, Maybe; Rise of the Guardians; Bachelorette; Rango; Hot Rod; Horton Hears a Who!; Life of Crime; I Heart Huckabees; The Lookout; BMT: Scooby-Doo; Confessions of a Shopaholic; Visions; The Pool; Wedding Daze; The Brothers Grimsby; Burke and Hare; London; Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Always found it interesting that she was born in Oman. Married to Sacha Baron Cohen and has three children.)

Jon Hamm – (Known For: The Town; Bridesmaids; The A-Team; Minions; A Single Man; We Were Soldiers; Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie; Shrek Forever After; Space Cowboys; Million Dollar Arm; Friends with Kids; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; The Ten; Sucker Punch; Stolen; Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Obviously best known for Mad Men for which he won two Golden Globes and an Emmy.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $5,875,943 (Worldwide: $8,348,744)

(Weird that this bombed so badly. There were a number of big new films that week though and it’s a weird time for a comedy to come out, so maybe not. Third worst opening of this year for a 3000+ theater film behind Burnt and Hardcore Henry… forgot about those films.)

#8 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated chart

(Crazy how few of these we’ve seen. One other one in the top 10 (Seeker the Dark is Rising) and two others in the top 20 (New York Minute, although I’ve seen Astro Boy outside of BMT). The decision to move the release to October probably has something to do with the performance, it is competing with much better films than it should be. And this week won’t be any different, at least in the UK almost all screens are being devoted to Doctor Strange starting Friday.)

#33 for the Comedy – Spy genre


#98 for the Spy genre


(Interesting graphs. As far as spy-comedy is concerned there are three main peaks. Early 2000s, around 2010 and a recent resurgence. The first seems to have been kicked off by Austin Powers and quickly burned out after that series failed. The second coincides with Casino Royale and the return of Bond. I think that died with Killer and Knight & Day, but then Spy, Central Intelligence, The Brothers Grimsby and this offers a return of the genre. But then looking at the Spy genre you see the graphs basically overlie each other … which made me wonder)

Spy – Not Comedy


(Very interesting. Indeed it looks like, strangely, non-comedy spy movies lag a bit behind spy comedy films. How strange … I guess we should expect a bunch of spy films in the next few years. I wonder if it is a financing / speed of production thing. Spy movies in general become of interest. Comedies are cheaper and quicker to make so they come out faster. Then they both burn out and the cycle repeats. I like this theory. I’m going to accept it as truth)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (17/90): Keeping Up with the Joneses squanders a decent premise — and a talented cast full of funny people — on a witless and largely laugh-free suburban spy adventure.

(So Tammy. Like … Tammy but with Zach Galifianakis? I sure hope not, because Tammy was awful. I see this as like a The Killers thing. Which makes sense given the subject matter. But just that you think the spy genre is ripe for lampooning, but then the goofy guy or everyman stuck in a secret world aspect of things sustains humor for about 10 minutes and then you get tired. As long as Galifianakis isn’t horribly irritating this movie could be a win by default.)

Poster – Keeping Up with the Sklogses (B-)


(This is the poster in the theaters, but not on imdb for whatever reason. I like the yellow… underused as a primary color of posters and gives it something bold to catch the eye. The symmetry isn’t bad, though the stagger of the tagline is weird. Could use a better font. OK all things considered.)

Tagline(s) – License to kill. License to chill. (C)

(Not clever enough. Repeat of the front of the tagline messes with the cadence. Short and sweet though and at least sounds like a tagline. Mediocre.)

Keyword(s) – tied feet; Top Ten by BMeTric: 58.0 The Phantom (1996); 57.9 Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009); 49.7 Bride of Chucky (1998); 49.1 Charlie’s Angels (2000); 49.1 Knock Off (1998); 48.8 Glen or Glenda (1953); 47.7 Turistas (2006); 46.4 Sinister 2 (2015); 41.7 House at the End of the Street (2012); 39.6 Excess Baggage (1997);

(You shitting me? … weirdly good list though. Like we should legit have seen the top 4 and then Excess Baggage. Glen and Glenda is kind of an old school by-reputation-only entry as well but … touche weird keyword, you managed a solid list.)

Notes – The home brew shop scenes were filmed at Red Brick Brewing Company, the oldest craft brewery in Georgia. (Can we assume this movie is actually set in Georgia. Let’s get an intertitle, haven’t seen that in a while I feel like)

The movie was initially slated to premiere during early April 2016 but the release date was deferred for about six months until late October 2016. (but … why? October doesn’t really feel like comedy season. It is bad horror and borderline oscar season)

First cinema movie directed by Greg Mottola in around five years with his last theatrical feature film being Paul (2011). (Really, you’re going to bait us with that and just leave it. I assume there is a reason. And there it is, he co-executive produced The Newsroom. Presumably this took up a bunch of time in 2012 and 2013. Took me five seconds).

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