Tag Archives: Seth Rogen

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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This Is the End (2013)

2 Jun

So this is what you get when you take the comedic gang from Freaks and Geeks and lock them all in a room for 24 hours. Oh, and also throw in Emma Watson and the black guy from The Office. And of course you can’t forget Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. And because it’s a post-Superbad comedy Danny McBride has to make an appearance somewhere. Also there is Paul Rudd, Aziz Ansari, and Rihanna because – hey why not?

If they would have taken half the effort in writing the story as they did in the casting, then this film would be amazing. But the randomness and senseless progression of the scenes make it feel like you are watching a bunch of strewn-together YouTube videos. Which is OK, because This Is the End actually is kinda funny, and the film works in an unpredictably offensive way.

I was hoping for something a bit more self-aware and smart in a film where actors play themselves, but instead what I got was some half-baked morality tale about humanity and religion. It is an interesting mix, and the film definitely strayed into territory I wasn’t expecting, but I was satisfied by the time the credits rolled up. If you are a fan of the genre, then this is a must-see.

6/10 stars.

Similar to: Superbad, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder