Neighbors – 4 out of 5
So, having neighbors can be cool. If you need to borrow a cup of sugar, they are there for you—even though I think that only happens in movies and TV. However, like this film, I would imagine that being next door to a fraternity would be pretty hard. All those popped collars, guys screaming various constructions of the word "bro," and a whole shit load of rape allegations and homoeroticism.
|Seth Rogen is in the film. Of course weed smoking is going to come into play.|
|I dunno. Having blacklights in a frat might be a bad |
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are settling into their adult lives. They just had a baby and have recently purchased a home and are ready to put the days of partying and worrying about being cool behind them (personally, I stopped worrying about being cool the day I discovered Dungeons & Dragons). However, fate comes walking around with a stack of papers in its hands and a bunch of glue and hilariously falls all over itself and gets all these things clogged up in the gears of the Radners lives. A fraternity moves into the house next door and Mac and Kelly are freaking out about all the potential parties that are going to keep their baby up at night. Soon, it becomes a war of attrition between the new parents and the fraternity with the frat’s president Teddy (Zac Efron) leading the charge. Who will come out victorious and bathe in the blood of their vanquished enemies? And by "bathe in the blood of their vanquished enemies," I mean who will get some sleep at night or get to party until the break of dawn?
|Look at his face. He's ready to party.|
I wasn’t prepared for how funny I found this film. Yes, the trailer made me giggle and I expect to chuckle here and there but after my girlfriend watched it before me and told me she didn’t think it was funny, my expectations sunk a little. However, in the end, I did find the film to be extremely hilarious and was even surprised by how well Zac Efron was in the film.
|I was also surprised by how sexy this film got.|
|So, Christopher Mintz-Plasse is in the film...and it really didn't|
In all honesty, a lot of the humor isn’t very surprising and didn’t really venture far from what you would expect from a story involving warring factions of new parents and frat boys—and that’s okay because the party atmosphere and prank war that is the film works and it works well. And it is clear that a lot of this working formula has to do with a cast that really knew how to hit the funny marks. First off, you have Seth Rogen being Seth Rogen in the film. He isn’t trying to break into new territory or venture into a foreign landscape with his comedic acting and that’s fine because it works for the film. What did surprise me, however, was how funny Rose Byrne and Zac Efron were. Two actors I never expected to be this good in a comedy.
|Nothing strange here. Just some dudes having a good time.|
Yes, Rose Byrne’s was in Bridesmaids (a comedy) and was terrifically funny in the role but, for the most part, she was the straight man in the film. In Neighbors, she’s required to get a little sillier than I’ve ever witnessed her being and, I have to say, she pulled it off. When sharing a scene with Rogen, it would have been easy for her to be overshadowed by his own silliness and she would have had the potential to harm a scene and its funny results but she held her own and, in numerous scenes, outdid Rogen in the funny department.
|"I will eat your soul!"|
And then there’s Zac Efron…
|What the ever living fuck?!? Are those abs real?|
Efron, for a long time, was an actor that was never really on my radar other than acknowledging the fact that I did not envy his eventual struggle to get out from under the all encompassing blanket of typecasting that the High School Musical franchise and just being owned by Disney would end up putting him through. Basically, he was kid stuff to me and when HSM-mania was over, I never really thought about him until he was briefly on Entourage. In fact, he was the one thing I was hesitant about with Neighbors because his performance could have easily been seen as just a shameless excuse to be vulgar in order to try and convince the world that he is no longer the tween heartthrob he once was. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Efron’s performance was not only lacking in the usual gratuitous R-rating jump that some other previously owned by a big Mouse actors and actresses have done (including a former co-star of Efron’s) but his performance is one grounded entirely in solid comedy work. If I didn’t know better, I would say that he’s been doing comedies like this his whole career because he made it look so natural, so easy, and extremely hilarious. The way he played off of every other actor—whether it be Rogen, Byrne, or even his frat boy co-star Dave Franco—was just hysterical.
|Look at Franco...such intensity in his comedy!|
One thing that made this comedy work so well was the fact the movie never really has any antagonist—well, not in any clear sense of the word. Both parties are antagonistic towards each other but without either party really being the ones that you are supposed to hate. It made the affair even funnier because I found myself laughing at the hijinks that happen to both groups rather than laugh at the humiliation of a single side. That really just goes to show you how likable the characters were written. It’s a prank war with no real, clear-cut bad guy/s and the focus is entire on what is funny, not who is right.
|Only in movies are fraternities incapable of being boo'ed at.|
Neighbors is a delightful romp (What? Did I really just say that?) that is filled with the right amounts of vulgarity and ridiculous nonsense to be a fun comedy that didn’t fail for me at all. Sure, it’s made me question if I’ve ever really known my girlfriend but it was still fun and made me laugh so much that I passed out and woke the next day in a park where I was naked and cover in the blood of a deer carcass—no wait, that last part was because of my werewolfism.