Movie Review: Neighbors
96 mins. Comedy. May 9, 2014.
Initially, I was pretty excited to see Neighbors. I am, admittedly, a huge fan of Seth Rogen, although I was unsure about how Zac Efron’s role would play out and if he would be the downfall of the movie…boy was I wrong. In this comedy, Mac Radner (Rogen) and his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) move into a comfortable home in the suburbs to start their new family. The movie starts with their conflict to be more than a boring married couple. The couple decides that instead of settling into adulthood, they would simply incorporate their new, parental life in with their old, party lifestyle. This scene alone with the couple fighting to stay awake once they decided to take their infant to the club was simply hilarious. Rogen and Byrne had phenomenal chemistry. For once, a film actually showed young parents acting like young parents.
As the movie progresses, a fraternity, led by Zac Efron and Dave Franco’s characters Teddy and Pete, respectively, moves in next door to the Radner’s. Wanting to seem like they were “the cool neighbors”, the couple decided to approach the frat house and tell them casually (or not so casually) to keep the noise level down at times. The frat says they will oblige, but come the first night a wild ragger is already taking place. Mac and Kelly decide to go over and tell the frat to keep the noise down, but they end up partying with them.
The climax of the film takes place when the Radner’s decide that they can no longer have the frat living next door and they attempt to move them out. For me, the best character in the whole film was Kelly, the mother and wife. Rose Byrne was simply hilarious as she portrayed a young woman who actually acted like a young woman would. A reference is made to how their life is “not a Kevin James film” with her being the nagging wife and Mac being the reckless husband. This, to me, was one of the greatest debunking of a classic film stereotypes ever.
Possibly the most enjoyable aspect of this movies was that it actually contained a relatable plot. Often in comedies it is hard to find what “the point” of the hilarity actually was. In Neighbors, this is quite the opposite. Neighbors contains outrageous farce, sex, and absurdity, but also allows for some thought on the awkward times in life. Efron’s character is bridging the gap between college and “the real world”, while Rogen and Byrne are experiencing what is really like to venture into adulthood.
While Neighbors was one of the best comedies I had seen in a while, it fell short in some aspects for me. It is a hard movie to pinpoint its faults, but I left wanting just a bit more. Maybe a bit more outrageous tactics from the gang? For those who have seen it: come on, how epic was the takedown of Teddy and Pete? I’m not sure what I would have wanted to see more of, but I do know that I left only feeling satisfied, not utterly wowed (maybe with the exception of Rose Byrne’s character…have I raved about it enough?). I am quite picky when it comes to comedies, but as for Neighbors, I would recommend it and I would probably see it again…on DVD.