The Ninjabot

NEIGHBORS Review

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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Every summer movie season there is one big R-Rated comedy that comes out and takes the world by storm (see 40 Year Old Virgin, Hangover, Wedding Crashers, There’s Something About Mary, Bridesmaids, etc.) Neighbors truly fits the bill of an R-Rated comedy, but will it hold up like the rest of the aforementioned classics? Probably not, but it is still a lot of fun.

Neighbors follows new parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) who are desperately trying to maintain their youthful spirit and independence during this major life change. They encapsulate modern parenting; they love their child and are good parents, but secretly they want to be out partying and re-living the good old days. Rogen and Byrne both do an admirable job, but in the end they are basically playing the same roles they always play, just this time they have a kid. Rogen is immature and prone to yelling while Byrne is the MILF who can be socially awkward. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

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Their life is turned upside down when the Delta Psi Beta fraternity moves into the house next door. The frat’s president Teddy (Zac Efron) and his pledges seem to want to make it work with their new neighbors, even allowing them to come to their first party in the house. It appears that this might be just what the couple needs, they can be responsible at home, but have a possible outlet for their wild side just steps away. Mac promises Teddy that if the partying ever gets too loud he will call him before the police. There appears to be peace in the neighborhood. Of course that would make for a lackluster film, and the Delta’s late night partying quickly gets old for the young couple when it starts keeping their baby awake. Mac breaks his promise to Teddy by calling the cops, and this is where the movie truly begins.

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With the trust between neighbors shattered the frat goes to war with their neighbors. The prank war quickly escalates, but what keeps it fresh and funny is that it is not a mean fraternity picking on an old married couple. Mac and Kelley try their darndest to be just as underhanded and devious. It really becomes a fun back and forth between a jilted frat and the quirky couple that lives next door to them. I don’t want to ruin the pranks, but if you have seen the trailers you have seen a couple of them, and every time it looks like one side is winning, it quickly shifts back in the other direction.

The supporting cast in the film is also great. Dave Franco played Pete, the Vice President of the fraternity. Unlike Teddy, it looks like Pete might actually have a future and he is simultaneously the voice of reason and the clean up man for the outlandish pranks. Lisa Kudrow plays the school’s Dean who is only interested in avoiding bad press in the paper. If it isn’t a bad headline, she’ll allow it.

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Another great aspect of the film is that it doesn’t beat a message into you. Sure in the end everyone learns a valuable lesson about harmonious living, but the film does not wave a magic wand and everyone ends up on top. Some of the characters move on, and some end up working at the mall. There is no, “oh we are friends now, let me fix everything” moment.

Director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) does a great job creating a world where is is okay to laugh when something horrible happens, and trust me there are some heinous things happening in this film. Somehow though they never seem to cross the line into “turn-off town.” He manages to create archetypes that you instantly recognize, but then allows them to un-pigeonhole themselves when you least expect it. In the end you aren’t sure which side you are rooting for, because the only winner in this struggle is us the viewers.

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Neighbors is a fun film that allows us to laugh at both sides, while cheering them on at the same time. I have always been a big Zac Efron fan, and he was great as the “Douche King with a heart.” All the performances were great, and it is well paced. There was never a point where I wondered, “when the hell will this thing get going.” If you are a fan of R-Rated comedies then Neighbors is right up your alley, if you’re easily offended then you should sit this one out.

neighbors-movie-efron-picture-2Snackbar’s Grade: B

Pros – Great performances, nice pranks and stunts, the film does a great job with pacing and building a world where it is okay to laugh at a baby with a condom in it’s mouth.

Cons – If you are not a fan of R-Rated faire then you will more than likely dislike this film

Let me know what you thought of the film in the comment section below.

Follow Snackbar on Twitter @snackie_cakes for all your Geek News

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