Neighbors — MOVIE REVIEW

Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, and Rose Byrne in Neighbors

This is one damn funny movie. Neighbors shouldn’t work overall but it does. It does a concept that feels a little familiar and borrows from other comedies in certain aspects. But where these other comedies fall short, Neighbors strives. It has been a long time since I have laughed this much at any single movie in the movie theater. The last one is probably The Wolf of Wall Street, which was the funniest movie of last year. So far, this is the funniest movie I’ve seen this year.

The story is quite simple. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are a young couple who are forced to live next door to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. That fraternity is led by Teddy (Zac Efron). Mac and Kelly try to make it clear right away to keep the noise down because of their baby. Teddy’s response is to invite the two over for an awesome party. And they have a blast. Mac and Teddy bond with each other and act like they were meant to be best friends. The next day, they still stick to their guns about the noise. Teddy agrees but to just make him one promise: call him and not the cops if they have an issue with the noise. And trouble ensues when they can’t get him to keep the noise down. Mac calls the cops and feeling betrayed, Teddy wants revenge. This sets up the family versus frat movie that is Neighbors.

This could have been an ordinary revenge comedy where to two houses go back and forth on pranks, but it is actually more than that. This movie is written very well and it is not only a really funny movie, but a good one as well. Nicholas Stoller, who also directed Forgetting Sarah Marshall, come back with a movie that works on most levels.

If this movie does one thing right, that’s utilizing its’ great cast. Seth Rogen pretty much plays the same character he always does, except a bit more serious this time around. He is still that stoner, but a more responsible one. But the standout, by far, is Rose Byrne. I’m used to seeing her in more serious roles, like FX’s Damages or X-Men: First Class. She was in Bridesmaids, but she wasn’t really allowed to be funny. She is hilarious here. It may be her natural accent, but she nails everything in this movie. Comedic timing, chemistry with Rogen, and great delivery; she is the best part of this movie. This movie shows everyone that she is a natural when it comes to comedy and there is nothing she can’t do. It is weird seeing her use swear words and do the things she does in this movie, but it all works. Zac Efron is the other reason this movie works. I am extremely happy that he was able to shed his “Disney” image and do this movie. He was hilarious as well. His bromance with Rogen and also Dave Franco just added to how awesome his character is.

This movie does have it’s good supporting players as well. Christopher Mintz-Plasse was given very little to do, but he was memorable whenever he had to be. Dave Franco was good as well, especially when teamed up with Efron. Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo weren’t anything special, but they did provide some laughs.

From beginning to end, this movie will have you laughing your ass off. It is a comedy, so it has little things that wouldn’t work in a more serious movie. But that is a part of a comedy; things are going to be a little unrealistic. But there is a difference between slightly unrealistic and so farfetched that it’s stupid (*cough* Anchorman 2). Not only does the comedy work in this, but there is actually more than one layer to the main characters. You understand that this couple may be grown ups but they aren’t ready to grow up yet. That is why this movie can work for older adults and young adults as well. Rogen and Byrne are brilliant together and they didn’t just make Rogen a silly man-child as usual. They also didn’t make Rose Byrne the super serious wife nagging on him all the time. They are both silly idiots and it is comedy magic. The fact of the matter is that Rogen, Byrne, Efron, and Franco are perfect in this movie. They are all hilarious on their own and even funnier with each other.

Efron and Byrne are the two best parts of this movie, but I give Nicholas Stoller credit for not making this another piece of crap like Project X. This is well written and hilarious. It also has a more serious tone than it needs to have, but he makes it work. Behind all of the comedy and stupidity of the characters, there is a weight being held over all of the characters. And that weight is the future and what it holds for each and every one of them. Also, that Robert De Niro party is one of the funniest bits I’ve seen in a movie in a long time.

Neighbors will have you laughing so hard, it may even bring tears to your eyes. Yes, it is that funny. Due to great performances from everyone, this is one funny movie and it may just be the most fun you’ll have at a movie this year.

Cast:

Seth Rogen as Mac Radner
Rose Byrne as Kelly Radner
Zac Efron as Teddy Sanders
Dave Franco as Pete
Ike Barinholtz as Jimmy
Carla Gallo as Paula
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Scoonie
Halston Sage as Brooke
Jerrod Carmichael as Garf
Craig Roberts as Assjuice
Lisa Kudrow as Dean Carol Gladstone

WHAT I LIKED:

+: I can’t say enough about the main four actors. Rogen, Efron, Franco, and Byrne all bring their A-game, comedy-style. They all shine on their own, but it is when on-screen with each other that you truly see the comedic timing and chemistry they all have.

+: Rose Byrne. She deserves her own point. We haven’t really seen this from here before. Ever. And she is amazing. Give her a comedy movie of her own already. She has earned it with her performance in this one. And I don’t know if it’s her natural accent that makes me feel this way, but she is super attractive in this movie. More-so than anything else I’ve seen her in. Kudos, Rose Byrne. We all love you.

+: All of the shenanigans. All of it is hilarious. These bits could have been in poor taste, had it been in the hands of a less than good director. Luckily they had Nicholas Stoller to make everything in this movie work.

+: A level of seriousness in this movie that was unexpected. But it was a welcome change to a comedy movie. Not only did it make it less predictable, it made the ending a lot better than it probably would have been.

+: Laugh-out-loud funny. You will laugh until it hurts.

+: Efron and Rogen’s back and forth about “Batman.”

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:

-: Some of the bits weren’t as funny, but not everything is going to work 100%, like the rest.

-: The supporting players, being not as important, didn’t get to shine as much. This resulted in them being a little unmemorable.

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