Neighbors (2014) Directed by Nicholas Stoller. Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, & Dave Franco. IMDB says: “A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.”
Neighbors is about a young couple who buy their first house in a quiet neighborhood next to another house that’s also for sale. A little while goes by before a fraternity moves in, turning it into a party house. The plot doesn’t start as an out and out feud, but it does escalate into that scenario quickly. Even though it gets pretty heated at times, the outcomes always stay on the lighter side, keeping the comedy from getting too dark, which works with the tone of the movie.
Neighbors fits right in with the stoner comedies that Seth Rogen has starred in over the last few years, but also has some variation as it wasn’t written by him or his crew. These variations don’t hold the movie back in any way; they only make it seem fresh. The movie does a great job of taking a good concept for a comedy and cramming in as many jokes as possible.
Seth Rogen is funny as always in Neighbors. He fits the role perfectly. In addition to his performance, both Zac Efron and Rose Byrne give spotless comedic performances. Their range as actors is really shown off by adding this movie to their filmography. Efron is completely comfortable in this film and Bryne felt like she was having a fun filming it. Dave Franco has also found a niche in these new comedies. I believe their attitudes both came through positively.
If you are a fan of movies like 21 Jump Street and This is the End, then Neighbors is definitely worth checking out. It won’t displace either of those movies in your list of favorite comedies, but it’s a strong comedy in its own right.
Neighbors isn’t a film that’s going to rock the comedy genre, but it will make you laugh uncontrollably at times and keep you entertained throughout. It has a lot of elements of other comedies – a feud develops into a prank-off, crazy party sequences, adults trying to grasp onto their youth, fraternity shenanigans – it’s all there and more. The thing here is, Neighbors rarely goes the most obvious route with these staples. There are fresh ideas going on, but all in the Rogen comedy package we’ve become familiar with. There’s plenty of raunch and plenty of weed. If this type of comedy hasn’t been your cup of tea so far, this isn’t going to change your mind.
This movie balances itself extremely well between the young parents Mac (Rogen) & Kelly (Byrne) and the frat led by Teddy (Efron) & Pete (Franco). The film isn’t necessarily taking sides and lets all of them do downright dirty shit to each other. I loved the dynamic of the relationship between Mac and Kelly, with both actors working really well together. They are both at that stage where they are trying to grow up now that they have a kid, but neither really wants to mature. And when I say neither, that’s really important. Rose Byrne is every bit Rogen’s comedic equal here – never some sort of nagging wife stereotype that you’d totally expect in this kind of film. That’s really (sadly) rare and deserves some recognition. The other pairing is that one special relationship between bros, and Efron & Franco are totally up to task. Efron especially lets loose and shows that he has some great comedic chops and isn’t afraid to be a complete idiot.
A small shout out to some smaller roles played by Hannibal Buress, Ike Barinholtz, and Jerrod Carmichael. All of which somehow got much better material than Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
Neighbors is easily the best comedy to come out so far this year directed in the very capable hands of Nicholas Stoller. I’d be very surprised if you were disappointed.