There's a familiar comedy trope where an ordinary person discovers that someone close to them who seems normal is actually a spy: a spouse (Killers), both spouses (Mr. and Mrs. Smith), an old friend (Central Intelligence), a sibling (The Brothers Grimsby).  Keeping Up with the Joneses is the latest entry in this formula.

Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zack Galifiakanis and Isla Fisher) are a happy, perfectly ordinary suburban married couple.  He works at human resources for an aerospace company, is friendly with everyone, knows everyone's name, and can't get anyone to join him for "indoors skydiving."  She's an interior designer working from home.  They live in a cul-de-sac where everyone's friendly, and when their two sons leave for camp Jeff and Karen feel a bit of empty nest syndrome.
Things pick up when the house next door is purchases by Tim and Natalie Jones (Jon Hamm and Gal Godot), a couple who seem almost too perfect.  They're both beautiful, talented, and live amazing lives: He's a travel writer, she writes a food blog and helps starving orphans overseas, and they both speak multiple languages.  Jeff wants to be Tim's best friend, while Karen thinks they're too perfect and starts snooping around.  Of course Tim and Natalie are spies, and soon Jeff and Karen are drawn into a world of shootouts, car chases, and international espionage.

There's not anything new in Keeping Up with the Joneses -- and not a whole lot done well.  The actors do as much as they can with the material they have, but many of the jokes fall flat and both the action scenes and physical comedy are uninspired.  There are a few chuckles here and there, but Keeping Up with the Joneses generally settles for mediocrity.

Overall grade: C-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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