Seth Rogen seems to think there’s no end to the public’s appetite for raunchy, frat house humor. One might wonder if a quiet moment of self reflection became the inspiration for the very on-the-nose premise of his newest film, Neighbors. He’s probably right.
Synopsis: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne lead the cast of Neighbors, a comedy about a young couple suffering from arrested development who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. – Universal
The movie begins with scenes establishing Seth and Rose’s characters, Mac and Kelly, unwittingly settling into the dull requirements of suburbanite adulthood. After a very funny scene on the dampening affect children have on their parents’ sex lives, the film falters with a montage of situations showcasing young adults desperately attempting to maintain their cool-factor in spite of their new found responsibilities. Many other films prove these scenes should have been hilarious, but they land with a tedious thud. Viewers may find themselves as despondent as the characters, and just as ready for a nap.
Just when it seems we might be trapped in a knock-off Adam Sandler travesty, a moving truck arrives with some exciting new neighbors. Now, to be fair, the target audience is sure to buy into the premise willingly, but anyone over 25 will need to make a very conscious decision to ignore the fact that virtually every community in the country bans frats in single family residence zoned neighborhoods. Forget that, and you’re fine. And, once your over it, hilarity ensues.
Naturally, Mac and Kelly strain to be good neighbors and enjoy the newfound joie de vivre the kids next door bring, but real life continually steps in. Cue the penis jokes, weed jokes, condom jokes, naked young men jokes, frat party jokes, more penis jokes, mocking authority jokes, even more penis jokes, and a penis joke. It may seem tired, but it’s really very funny.
Apparently, Zac Efron is a great actor, because he’ll do anything he’s told, and always seems at ease doing it. As the leader in his frat, this proves a good foundation to allow everyone else in the film to jump around like lunatics – trying anything that might get a laugh. Mac finds himself (ironically) going to greater and greater extremes to maintain some semblance of sanity, while the frat kids just go extreme.
While the main characters each contribute solidly to the mayhem (Zac relapses into his college recreational drug habits, Kelly suffers from the world’s worst case of mammary duct ectasia, and the frat members… act like frat members), the supporting cast contributes as well. Lisa Kudrow’s college dean is very funny, and the police officer responding to the repeated nuisance complaints gradually succumbs to the pressures of his job until providing one of the most laugh-out-loud funny outbursts in the film. Zac Efron and Seth Rogen eventually come to blows in one of the funniest fight scenes in recent memory. It’s refreshing to see a good amount of physical comedy make it’s way into one of these films.
With films like The Hangover series, Get Him To The Greek, and Rogen’s very successful This Is the End last summer, R-rated comedies have entered a modern renaissance. For an audience with an insatiable appetite for raunch and mayhem, Neighbors will not disappoint.
Neighbors is copyright 2014, Universal.