Published on May 9th, 2014 | by Ryan Guerra0
When I first saw the trailer for Neighbors, I thought, “Great, another lack luster comedy ruined by the trailer showing all the funny parts.” Seriously, Seth Rogan (Knocked Up) is dangerously flirting with the, “keep getting them checks” period of his career. Plus, pair him up with High School Musical famed pretty boy Zac Efron…Really? Needless to say I had low expectations for this film. That being said, I am delighted to write that this film far excited my expectations and delivers, in my opinion, the best comedy of the year so far.
The premise of Neighbors is simple. A couple in their early thirties has their first born child when suddenly a local fraternity buys the house next door. The couple tries to be “cool” with the young “hip” crowd, only the constant loud partying is terrible for their baby. They can’t afford to move, so instead they try to get the frat suspended. Shenanigans ensue, Simple.
As far as comedies go, watching this film reminded me of the first time I watched Old School. Not just because of the fraternity similarity, but rather because there were constant jokes and gags running throughout the film that kept you constantly laughing. Even with the simple premise.
Seth Rogen basically delivers his typical quick witted stoner comedic style and plays well across his on screen wife Rose Bryne (Get Him to the Greek). Together they are a pair of adults who are struggling with growing up and having real responsibilities. Their chemistry and banter is amusing and the work well together. But it is the ensemble fraternity members, Led by Zac Efron, Dave Franco (21 Jump Street), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Super bad) and relative new comer Jerrod Carmichael, who provide some of the most hilarious moments in this film. These frat boys deliver enough comedic variety with their styles and provide constant laughs that never feel stale or boring. Even the jokes that fail to hit their mark provide at the very least, chuckles and are usually quickly followed by something else that makes up for the misses. They are the reason I would recommend this film to anyone who may not be a Rogen fan, but is looking for a hilarious comedy.
4 out of 5 stars
Second Review by Joseph Saulnier
I admit, I did not have high expectations for “Neighbors”. The premise of the movie just didn’t sound like it would be enough to keep the audience entertained. A fraternity moves in next to a family, the family calls the cops (after saying they would call the frat president first if the noise was too loud), then a war ensues between the frat and the family. Add to that the fact that the commercials kept hyping the fact that the movie is from the “same people that brought you “This is the End” (producers Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen and James Weaver). In my experience, when a film needs to call something like this out, it tends to not be that great. And finally, this could very easily be one of those movies where are all the funny material is in the commercials/trailers.
Despite all of this going against it, Neighbors did not disappoint. I found myself thoroughly entertained for the entire movie, and definitely LOL’d on more than one occasion. The premise actually managed to keep itself alive through the entire movie, and I think that it is in large part due to the fact that there is no real bad side in the feud between Frat and Fam. The Frat just wants to live up to their ancestry, but tries to get along with the Family. The Family attempts to call and ask them to keep the noise down as promised, but when it does not work they are left with no choice but to call the cops because their young child cannot sleep. From there, hijinks ensue. You can sympathize with each side, and a defense for the actions of each is pliable. Which is what I think worked solidly for the film. The movie is raunchy, so if you couldn’t handle films like This is the End, or “The Forty-Year Old Virgin”, then Neighbors probably isn’t the film for you.
And the cast was excellent. On the Family side of things you had Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), who made an excellently pairing as new parents who have just moved into their first house. Far better than I imagined as their onscreen chemistry was an unexpected pleasantry. This was definitely a different role for Byrne too, compared to what quickly comes to mind (Insidious 1 & 2, 28 Weeks Later). But then I have to remind myself that she took on comedy pretty well in “Get Him to the Greek” and “The Internship”. Backing up the Family is Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz of MADtv and the Mindy Project) and Paula (Carla Gallo of Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall). The movie did an excellent job of hashing out the characters on the Family Side of things.
The Frat side of this feud has some star power to play with as well. Zac Efron plays Frat President Teddy Sanders; Dave Franco is his right hand man and Vice President, Pete; and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Scoonie, a Fraternity brother. Though, I do not feel like the character development was done as well on the Frat side. At least they never really fully develop Efron’s character, and I kind of had mixed emotions on his angst and ultimate fate in the movie. Both in his relationship with Franco’s Pete and Rogen’s Mac.
Other than that, this movie was excellent. Will it win an Academy Award? Not likely; but with an interesting method used to display the various functions a phone performs (kind of a PIP effect with the audience see the activity on the screen in a smaller picture), a very fun and diverse soundtrack and a few very choice cameos throughout the movie, Neighbors delivers on many levels. I would definitely pay to see this movie in theaters, and will gladly add it to my collection when it arrives on Blu-Ray/DVD.
4.5 stars out of 5