Action movie regular, Gal Gadot, revealed her overlooked comedy potential in this spy comedy.
has proven herself as a skilled action star in countless action, thriller, and sci-fi movies. Playing the titular role in and numerous other DC installments, appearing in the action franchise, starring in the action-comedy , and billed for , she has established herself as an adept action star, whilst maintaining her signature sophisticated and sultry style. We are used to seeing her playing the majority of these roles straight, which the spy comedy , directed by Greg Mottola, allowed her to step away from, subverting the recognizable svelte and in-control persona, in order to lean into a more comedic role. In this movie, Gal Gadot is given the chance to show off her comedic chops.
sees husband and wife duo Natalie (Gadot) and Tim Jones ( Jon Hamm) move into Karen ( Isla Fisher) and Jeff Gaffney's ( Zach Galifianakis) suburban neighborhood. This couple, with their traditional good looks, style, and charm, enchant Jeff but make Karen suspicious. It turns out that Karen's instincts were right, and as undercover spies, the Joneses certainly aren't all that they seem. However, this cover is just one part of the duplicity, and Gal Gadot's comedy artistry in this movie is to play with this duplicitousness: acting the part of a suburban housewife goddess, whilst her true spy self is desperate to burst out.
In our first proper introduction to the Joneses, Jeff arrives back from work to find that Karen has invited Natalie and Tim into their home. Gadot as Natalie greets Jeff with a sparkling smile, and an upbeat sing-song "We're the Joneses," summing up their projected wholesome image as a couple. Claiming to be a social media consultant who writes a cooking blog on the side, with time left over to volunteer for a charity for orphans, Natalie's facade is hilariously perfect, emulating the modern trope of the "woman who has it all." The earnestness with which Gadot delivers these lines - and lies - is brilliant, and the sweetness with which she responds to Hamm's character is the epitome of a docile and amiable partner. Tilting her head to one side whilst shaking it softly, she insists to Karen and Jeff that theirs is "such a lovely street," again reinforcing the picture of neighborly goodness.
With her white dress and cardigan, Natalie is almost the image of purity and innocence - but the cut-out, slightly risqué element of the dress hints at there being something more subversive to her character. Clearly, she is more than just a charming social media consultant, and the sense that there is something else bubbling beneath the surface makes the prim and proper act all the more amusing. It is this masquerade that enables Gadot to get her teeth into substantial comedic acting.
Gadot uses not only subtle head movements to convey her character's duality and trickery. Usually recognized as an action star, audiences can expect a level of physical expertise in her roles. However, as discussed previously, in , Gadot also utilizes her physicality for great comedic effect.
During the community's yard party, Natalie is "taught" by one of the men how to throw a dart - which, for anyone who has seen , is already laughable. She subtly mocks the clueless neighbor by miming how she should throw the dart according to his teaching. Her act hilariously underlines the cliché of a man patronizingly providing an unnecessary explanation, which she immediately shuts down when she proceeds to throw three darts in her style, using an impeccable aim to hit her target. The cherry on top is her surprised reaction, as if it was all a fluke.
Later on, the suspicious Karen spies on Natalie and follows her to a clothes store. Natalie catches her in the act in the dressing rooms and proceeds to distract her from her correct assumptions, by speaking and gesturing seductively about the lingerie she is trying on. Using her physicality to tower over the shorter Fisher, Gadot's character uses intimidation to throw her nosy neighbor off the scent. This subverts her usual sensuality and model-like silhouette to comedic means, behaving in this way to mask her true intentions and confuse Karen.
Undercover spy Natalie is clearly so comfortable with the double life that she leads that one of the funniest moments in the movie is when, after a car chase scene, she is placidly discussing a newspaper's sudoku with Tim. However, there are moments throughout the movie when her true self starts to show through, with comedic results. At the yard party, she dresses more provocatively than others, unnecessarily wearing a dress with a very low back, similar to the first meeting with the Gaffneys with her cut-out style dress. This hints at her later admission to not actually liking the cul-de-sac lifestyle: during an argument with Tim triggered by the Gaffneys' intrusion, she has an outburst that "this is the suburbs! It's hard. Don't you get it? Women here are vicious." This breakdown of her outward persona is as entertaining as the persona itself, due to its honest frustration, referring to suburban women as "vicious."
During the course of Natalie's argument with her husband, we see the pretense further dissolve, as Gadot launches into a stream of Hebrew, displaying her character's authentic self, and also using the flow of her native language to convey her domestic annoyance at Tim. When the duplicity is finally broken down, surrounding her profession, how she feels about the suburbs, and the news that Tim is questioning their career path, this new honesty and vulnerability are likeable and funny. During their bickering, she demands of her husband, "So now you want me to dress like some kind of a sexless elementary school nurse?" following this up cheekily with, "no offense Karen".
Gadot impresses with her take on the suburban housewife trope, her use of physical comedy, and her surprising vulnerability. She holds her own opposite Hamm, Fisher and Galifianakis who have proven themselves multiple times in comedies — Isla Fisher, in particular, having wrapped filming on — and brings a unique flavor to the comedy movie. Interestingly, both Gadot's performance as her character's false persona, and during times of stress when the cracks are beginning to show, seem to offer an uncomplimentary commentary on suburbia — as if this community is the real lie, and she is just holding a mirror up to it, mockingly.
Now that , Gal Gadot's calendar is theoretically freer. So for movies aiming to keep it fresh and interesting: let Gadot have the last laugh.