Neighbors (2014)

1 Jun

We have seen a surprisingly good amount of high quality cinema for 2014, but the genre that has so far been lacking is the raunchy R-rated comedy.  Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zach Efron, is the year’s first real foray into this genre and, for the most part, the hits all the tropes and cliches we have come to expect. Penis jokes? Check. Boob jokes? Check. Crazy college party with weed and booze? Double check.  Neighbors lifts so much from other kingpins of the genre (Superbad and 21 Jump Street come to mind) that there isn’t much in the film that hasn’t been done before. However, there does manage to be some original heart to film, lurking just beneath the surface, but it isn’t quite enough to make the film stand out much among its contemporaries.

The film takes place in your typical college-town suburb where newlyweds Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) are raising their cute toddler. Soon, a college fraternity house moves in next door, and the couple is introduced to the frat’s leader Teddy (Efron). All is well until Efron repeatedly refuses to turn the music down and thus a neighborly feud between two conflicting lifestyles ensues. Cops are called, weed is smoked, and things quickly escalate to an all-out war between the two sets of – wait for it – neighbors. 

While the film definitely has its great moments, (mostly by way of the on-screen chemistry from its actors and visual humor that takes the place of action) many of the jokes simply didn’t resonate, and the film lacks any real sense of drama. There are hints at underlying tension within certain characters (Mac’s unwillingness to be a family man, Teddy’s uncertainty about life after college, etc..) but these never get explored and get tossed by the wayside.  Neighbors ultimately is your typical bro-comedy, and – even when it grows a bit tired of itself in the third act – still a mostly enjoyable watch.

 

 

Rating – 6/10 

Similar to: Superbad (2007), Accepted (2006), Role Models (2008)

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