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Film / Keeping Up with the Joneses

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Keeping Up with the Joneses is a 2016 spy action comedy film directed by Greg Mottola and written by Michael LeSieur.

The film is about an average suburban couple—the Gaffneys, Jeff (Zach Galifianakis) and Karen (Isla Fisher)—who suspect their charming and glamorous new neighbors—the Joneses, Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie (Gal Gadot)—are actually secret agents.

The Gaffneys are proven right, and much trouble ensues...

Keeping Up with the Joneses provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: The Scorpion is a casual, friendly guy who's easy to get along with, but he's still an ruthless arms dealer willing to kill anyone who gets in his way.
  • Almost Famous Name: The Scorpion's real name is "Bruce Springstine", which raises questions (the film treats this somewhat like an Unfortunate Name). One of his henchmen even asks if it's the reason he has to call him "The Boss", to which he answers it's just "Boss".
  • Ass Shove: How Dan apparently smuggled the microchips out of the MBI.
  • Badass Israeli: It turns out Natalie is not Greek but Israeli, and an ex-Mossad agent to boot. She's undeniably badass.
  • Battle Couple: The Joneses, being super spies and all.
  • Booby Trap: The Scorpion has put explosives in the Joneses' home. Tim notices it (too late) when touching a wire with his foot... He and Natalie then have just enough time to jump through the window before it goes boom.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Carl is shot in the head by a sniper.
  • Butt-Monkey: Carl Pronger, the head of security at MBI. His life was pretty much wrecked by his divorce, forcing him to live in a trailer home, and he's rather brutally killed by one of the Scorpion's henchmen.
  • Closet Key: Invoked. Karen pretends Natalie made her realize she's a lesbian, kissing her and passing over a knife while doing so as a way of distracting the bad guy.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Natalie intends to torture Dan by frying his testicles with a blowtorch. Jeff prevents her from doing so by discussing with Dan instead.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Jeff and Karen have a meeting with Carl to expose the Joneses, and Carl gets shot in the head by a sniper. The Joneses then come to their rescue, asking them to get in their car, and a chase ensues.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Karen talks about being with Natalie in her underwear then pretends she fell for her to distract Scorpion so that she can pass a knife over.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: When both the Gaffneys and the Joneses are captured by the Scorpion, Karen takes a knife and pretends to be attracted to Natalie then kisses her to hand the knife over to her and save the day. It's a non-disguise variant, but it's still used to fool the enemy.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The dreaded international arms dealer Scorpion turns out to be a former MBI employee named Bruce Springstine.
  • Good All Along: The Gaffneys initially think the Joneses are enemy secret agents. It turns out the Joneses, as anti-heroic that their methods can be, track down terrorists, and protect the Gaffneys along the way.
  • Guns Akimbo: Natalie uses two guns to shoot at the biker mooks during the chase. And both Tim and Natalie fire akimbo against the fez-wearing mooks in Morocco at the end.
  • Here We Go Again!: The Gaffneys blow the Joneses' cover over the course of the film, but the day is still saved. Then they go to Morocco on holidays... and they bump into the Joneses again, and inadvertently blow their cover again. Tim has a sigh, tells a blatant lie to the Gaffneys (about their cover not being blow) and a gunfight ensues between the Joneses and fez-wearing enemies.
  • Hidden Weapons: Natalie keeps a handgun in a holster that's strapped to her stocking.
  • Laughably Evil: The Scorpion. It is Patton Oswalt, after all.
  • Lingerie Scene: Natalie gets a long one in the changing room wearing only her attractive underwear.
  • The Klutz: Jeff and Karen are very clumsy people.
  • Masochist's Meal: Unless that snake restaurant is really of your taste.
  • Mood Whiplash: The film is mostly comedic... until shit gets real when Carl gets shot in the head.
  • Mr. Smith: "Jones" is a pretty common name. It is not known if it is Tim's real surname or a fake one.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Natalie, being played by the beautiful Gal Gadot. She gets a long scene in only her lingerie, and it's weaponized by Karen, who kisses her after pretending she fell for Natalie, distracting the film's villain.
  • Nosy Neighbor: Karen. She's obsessed by the Joneses as soon as they arrive in the street, being (rightfully) convinced that they are spies.
  • The Reveal:
  • Shoe Phone: Tim has a pen that shoots Instant Sedation darts... and Jeff accidentally shoots one in Karen's face when the two of them break into the Joneses' home.
  • Speed Sex: Jeff and Karen before the rendezvous at the hotel. While Tim is listening to them through the microphone in Jeff's tie.
    Natalie: What?
    Tim: I think they're having sex... Goddammit, we don't have time for this! They're supposed to be here in 45 minutes! [Listens again] Well, they are done...
  • Spy Couple: Tim and Natalie Jones are spies, and they're "married" for cover. They still have a genuine love relation.
  • Spy Fiction: Both "Martini" (the Joneses being rather hot and glamorous) and "Bathtub Gin Flavored" (heavy involvement of civilians, the Gaffneys here).
  • Statuesque Stunner: Natalie (it's Gal Gadot, after all). She towers over Karen (Isla Fisher) in the changing rooms scene.
  • Stock Scream: One of the biker mooks Natalie kills lets the Wilhelm Scream out when crashing his bike.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Jeff is afraid of snakes. And he's brought to a restaurant where they serve just that by Tim.