A key bylaw of young adulthood can apply to movie trailers, specifically comedies, just as strongly as it does to adolescents. Don’t give it away too early!
Director Nicholas Stoller had a potential gem on his hands; young couple Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne) are new parents and just bought a house. Soon after moving and settling in, a fraternity stakes residency next door full of young, testosterone filled young men ready to party all day and night. Hoping to smooth things over right away, Mac and Kelly go over and introduce themselves to Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) in the hopes of the frat keeping things down. Everything is great; they even party together, do some shrooms, drink and have a great night. Teddy wants there to be a good relationship with the couple so he tells them if anything ever is too loud that they call him first and not the cops. Mac promises to do so, but once this promise is broken, the war begins.
It’s the parents vs. the frat, old against young, brains vs. brawn. So while Efron gets to walk around half naked for most of the film, he is also devising a plan filled with pranks to get back at Mac and Kelly for breaking the trust. From airbags in office chairs to sabotaging the mantra of “bros before ****,” Neighbors is an all out onslaught against your fellow man.
On the surface Neighbors is a hardcore revenge comedy, one alpha male trying to impose his will and claim his territory against another. But it boasts a strong backbone of maturity.
Once the call to the police and the visit to the dean (Lisa Kudrow) are made, the early 30-somethings are forced to take things into their own hands. Rogen and Byrne perfectly play the adults who understand being young and don’t want to suck the fun out of the lives of college kids, but also balancing the fact that they have “real” jobs and a baby to take care of. It’s like Rogen is playing the mature version of himself that we get at the end of Knocked Up.
On the other side the frat are portrayed as normal, party minded college students. Frugal and creative, when Mac busts one of their pipes and floods their basement they figure out a way to raise the money and fix the flood. Delta Psi are a true brotherhood, coming across very compassionate as opposed to villainous as you would think.
Efron has come a long way since his Disney days and has gone to great lengths to shed the stigma that still surrounds him. He’s proving to be versatile and this comedic effort will certainly earn him lots of respect, as his timing is pretty spot on. There are some surprising supporting performances from Ike Barinholtz and Jerrod Carmichael that bring big time laughs. Unfortunately Franco doesn’t seem to mesh well with his frat bros or when sharing the screen with Efron, as he plays a more sensible, “getting-his-life-together” guy.
Byrne delivers laughs again; much like she did in Bridesmaids, and Rogen is his usual self. I’m afraid that Rogen is sort-of turning into Vince Vaughn, where he plays the same character, the same way, over and over. Byrne and Rogen work, their chemistry is tangible and overall there are enough big laughs to make the film successful. Maybe it was the over saturation on television of the film or just the hope that this would be the next best comedy, but at the end of the day, this film simply didn’t live up to the hype.
Never taking itself too seriously, or ever getting too invested in a silly, typical romance angle, you have to credit writers Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien for having their focus be on the comedy. Unfortunately the consistent comedy doesn’t always hit the right note and doesn’t live up to the “funniest film since 21 Jump Street” some critics and fans are dying to push on viewers.
Unless you have been living under a rock you have seen the trailer for Neighbors at least a few times a day. Universal has marketed the hell out of the film and by all accounts it should be the highest grossing comedy of the year. But it committed the cardinal sin of comedies: it showed too many of its big spots and laugh out loud moments in the trailers. And when those previews are airing non-stop you’re expecting said moments to happen. And when you expect them to happen they simply aren’t that funny anymore. This happened way too many times in the film and seriously hurt the overall hilarity of the big picture.
Edited by venom lyrix - 5/12/14 at 5:54am