Rogen and Efron Get Ready to Rumble in Neighbors
Neighbors is not a film that makes any significant statements about education, marriage or parenthood. The film’s aim and intent can be measured somewhat lower, although on those terms it can easily be argued that Neighbors hits the intended target. It’s a silly, breezy, sometimes inspired summer confection for arrested adolescents of all ages.
Seth Rogen, a genuine superstar in the arrested-adolescence comedy genre, stars with Rose Byrne as Mac and Kelly, a young couple with a newborn daughter who have just moved into their first house, nestled comfortably the heart of all-American suburbia.
Their expected domestic bliss quickly goes amiss when the house next door is sold to Delta Psi Beta, the local university’s quintessential party-hearty fraternity, fronted by fun-loving hunk Teddy (Zac Efron).
Although Mac and Kelly are only a few years removed from their own college revelry, the incessant noise from the fraternity house becomes a bone of contention – and the bane of their existence.
Thus begins an ever-escalating, increasingly raunchy battle of wills between Mac and the frat. There are some funny lines and uproarious sight gags, as well as the requisite number of jokes designed to appall as much as amuse. It’s also interesting to note that, although Mac and Kelly are meant to be the “adults” (comparatively speaking), they are the ones who constantly employ underhanded tactics to have the fraternity’s charter revoked. Teddy and his fellow Delta Psis love to whoop it up, but they’re honest and (very) open about it.
Efron relishes the role of a bad boy with a heart, and undoubtedly many of his fans will revel in his shirtless scenes. In response, Rogen bares even more … and, indeed, a lot of his fans will revel in that as well – although for different reasons. Byrne, using her native Aussie accent here, has made a few comedies (Bridesmaids, Get Him to the Greek), a good warm-up for cutting loose here.
There’s also nice work from Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Craig Roberts, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lisa Kudrow (very funny as a headline-conscious dean) and especially Dave Franco, first-rate as Teddy’s partner (and partier) in crime. Elise and Zoey Vargas are the adorable twins who play Mac and Kelly’s bright-eyed daughter Stella – and they earn a few laughs, too. (Stick around for the end credits.)
For those who can’t like their raunch constant and steady – and you know who you are — Neighbors offers high-spirited lowbrow fun. Silly and predictable, for sure, but it delivers what it promises.