“Neighbors” | Movie Review

Neighbors (2014) 1Grade (B+)

Sure this wasn’t the most intelligently written comedy, but for what it was, this film turned out to be rich in cheap-laughs, and well above average for its sub-genre.

Mac and Kelly Radner (Rogen & Byrne) are married and enjoying the hectic life of raising a newborn baby. Living in the suburbs and starting a family, already make them feel like they are older than their years. This will be compounded when a college fraternity headed by pretty-boy’s Teddy (Efron) and Pete (Franco) move in next door.

The clash of college life and family life will go head-to-head as Mac and Kelly try to fit in, but soon realize they are in fact as old as they felt. Trying to get the fraternity removed from the premises will be much more difficult to achieve than predicted as Mac and Kelly learn that much has changed since their days in college.

Raunch-com’s are a dime a dozen these days in Hollywood and while most usually fail to impress, by having scripts laden with forced humor and too many attempts at cheesy laughs. Some on the other hand can be surprisingly enjoyable. “Neighbors”, for me turned out to be the latter. Yes the humor is highly vulgar, and loaded with sexual and drug related topics, but the intent is clearly to deliver cheap laughs, and it completely succeeds.

The premise is nothing new and sure this film is nothing close to a classic such as “Animal House”, but it’s still very fun, and pretty much hilarious throughout. The cast is strong and watching Rogen and Byrne try to awkwardly convince themselves they are not old as life would suggest, is hilarious for the most part with many great scenes. From their attempts at intimacy to their efforts to relate to the younger members of the fraternity next-door, the scenes were tough to sit though in highly comical and cringe-worthy fashion.

At the same time, Rogen’s attempts to show his youth to his younger neighbors is also funny and easily to relate with for anyone over thirty-years old. You can sit back and laugh while he struggles with his older preferences in lifestyle despite his youthful mental spirit. Watching this clash being put to the test in his interactions with the college guys next door is enjoyable. This was one, of many entertaining aspects to this film. This one also used a strong combination of good genre writing mixed with solid performances by Rogen, Byrne, and the bulk of the cast.

Neighbors (2014) 3

This was also the first time I had seen Zac Efron in a film and I must say (in this performance) he was excellent for the role, highly believable and definitely hilarious in his comedic delivery. I had always heard of him more in relation to dramatic roles for young adults, but over the course of his past few films he has shown some strong comedic range. His chemistry with Rogen was also very good and their back-and-forth’s were definitely laughable.

The film kept a swift pace and with an wildly outrageous plot their was one laugh-out-loud moment after another. Before going in you know what the type of humor will be, there is no hiding the fact this film was clearly aimed for raunchy laughs, and for that, it definitely delivered its intention and resulted in a fun 90-minutes of turn your brain off fun.

Many may feel they are too sophisticated to find many moments in this film funny, but if you can relax and simply enjoy this film for what it is then you wont be disappointed. No one should go into watching this film expecting the language to be mild and the situations to be tame. In the end it is all harmless humor, with witty dialogue (for the most part) that pushes the comedy to the limit, then pushes some more, and it’s nothing but outrageous fun.

Overall this film was well above average for its sub-genre and should be a template for many raunch-com’s that fail to deliver the entertainment value. Sure this film has its dumb and even cheesy moments, it also has a couple of scenes that clearly seemed forced and did not deliver, but I don’t remember a film from the genre that hit a hundred percent of its jokes anyway.

These moments that did seem over done did not hinder the overall watch and with a solid cast that clearly embraced, and enjoyed their roles, this film brought the viewer likable characters and plenty of over-the-top moments. They draw on the inner child in us all and provide a range of cheap laughs. The trailer for this film tells it all and it’s just as advertised, but on the positive side, there are many, many more hilarious moments not seen in it, that make this one worth a watch.

Time: 97 min

MPAA Rating: R (For pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout)