Neighbors movie review

By Max Maier | May 12, 2014

I went into Neighbors expecting a by-the-books comedy with raunchy laughs. I came out, with a surprisingly smart, yet raunchy comedy that left me wanting to see it again nearly 3 days later. Is the best comedy in years? No, but, if you can stomach it, Neighbors is a hilarious comedy worth your time.

 

Our story starts with college sweethearts, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne). They are married and new parents, with a little baby girl. They have poured all of their money into a nice new house in a seemingly wonderful neighborhood. Soon after, the house next door goes on sale, and is picked up by a fraternity from a nearby college, led by Teddy (Zac Efron). Mac and Kelly want to establish their situation with the baby early on and request that the frat keep the noise level in control. So Teddy says he will agree to keep it down, as long as Mac never goes to the cops, and just always asks Teddy directly. So the parents party and bond with the frat and everything seems well. Several days go by, and nothing is done. The frat is noisy and keeping our protagonists awake, mainly because this is senior year for Teddy and his fellow frat leaders, and they want to be put on the famous wall of memorable moments that has transcended through the frat. 

So, Mac and Kelly call the cops, and of course, the frat looks innocent t a very foolish cop, and the cop (unrealistically) reveals to Teddy that Mac called the cops. This angers Teddy and the frat begin to make Mac and Kelly's life hell. Through the incompetent Dean of the college (Lisa Kudrow), that the frat is in trouble. Due to their continued problems on the campus, they are on a 3 strike system. Three strikes, and they are done. So, Mac and Kelly decide that they will get the frat in trouble and get them out of the neighborhood. So the war is on to see which side will cave first. Who will emerge victorious?!

Now on paper, the premise doesn't sound that original or innovative, but Neighbors has enough edge, and enough turn of events to make this movie very entertaining to watch. The humor isn't even all spoiled in the commercials or trailers. Mainly because a lot of the humor is quite raunchy. I don't think it's as bad as The American Pies or anything like that. I'd put it on par with The Hangover 2 and Ted. If you've seen any of those movies or films of that level, you can easily handle neighbors. However, if you are against raunchy, drug related or college partying humor, Neighbors isn't your film.

Yes, a lot of the humor is more appreciated if you've gone to college or had experiences with college frats. You have more of an understanding and appreciation for what's going on with the frat, and sympathize with Mac and Kelley even more. Yet, even Mac and Kelly have their juvenile sides. They party with the frat, they swear and get intimate in front of their  baby, these are not perfect people. And I think that's what makes the characters so entertaining and funny. None of them are too stereotypical, outside of Efron and the other main frat boys, but even then, they aren't so cut-from-the-cloth that they are tired characters. They are fun and the main leaders (Efron and Dave Franco) are given enough depth to justify caring about them. All of the main characters are fun and unique enough to justify laughing with them and at them. Yet both sides are human and relatable, but flawed as well, so it just makes the whole conflict really fun to watch.

It's also because the main actors give great performances. Rogen, while not really delving to far from his character acting zone, actually plays a great Dad who obviously hasn't fully grown up, yet has enough character to know when he needs to stand up for his wife and child. Rogen normally main plays as adult-sized children, but Mac is a great balance. Byrne is pretty much the female version of Rogen's character, with a few differences obviously, but their chemistry is fantastic. As far as comedic duos in modern comedies are concerned, I think these 2 are among the best.

Efron gives, in my opinion, his best performance yet. Efron has done a great job transforming himself from "High School Musical", to a legitimately funny actor. He plays this cocky frat boy role very well, but gives it enough of a human element to make him relatable. It really is a good comedic performance. The rest of the supporting cast is great. There are some recognizable faces amongst the frat boys, and the ones that are given attention are really funny. Mac and Kelly's 2 friends are also funny, specially Jimmy, but are both funny.

And yea, there are a couple of little problems. Like, if this frat is so much trouble, why would the campus let them get a house to themselves so far from campus? And the main problem is with the cop that rats out Mac. Cops are never supposed to reveal anonymous callers, under any situation other than other police investigations, and other technical things. It is the crux of what starts the conflict, but it would never happen, and that is a bit of a flaw. However, the rest of the movie is pretty solid and is altogether funny, with sight gags, funny reactions, and more quotable lines than I can count. It really is hysterical.

Overall, I really enjoyed Neighbors a lot more than I thought I would. The characters are fun, the humor is great most of the time and it doesn't overstay its welcome with its run time. While this may not be for the squeamish audience, if you are up for it, Neighbors is definitely worth your time.

 

Overall, I give Neighbors, 4 profitable moldings out of 5

 

Be here next week, when I review the return of the King of the Monsters' return to the big screen. Head on over to the Facebook page and like it!  

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