I’ve tried to think of a good way to start this review but it’s late and I’m tired so here’s the only really relevant information I can give you in a comedy review: Yes, it’s funny; yes, it’s also good movie.
As the film opens Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are new parents who have just sunk all of their savings into a new house to start their lives as parents and adults. The house next to theirs is vacant and sooner than later a moving truck shows up and a college fraternity headed by Zac Efron and Dave Franco.
The family and the frat meet and after a night of partying seem to make friends but when another night of partying keeps the baby up things go south and a feud erupts between the neighbours.
There are a lot of pranks that go back and forth and while most of them are funny one of my only complaints about the movie is that at the first stages they go from zero to all out feud in no time flat, which is told through a montage sequence of several rapid fire pranks.
That’s the complaint for the whole movie though is that sometimes scenes seem a little disjointed from one to another. Not that they don’t fit so much as they sort of feel thrown together. Maybe this is because the film makers had to cut around some improv or something but either way I noticed it. In the grand scheme of things this is a pretty minor gripe though because once the plot actually gets going the film is surprisingly smart.
Must of the comedy comes from the more nuanced place the characters are in. Rogen and Byrne aren’t just the adults in the story they are adults struggling with the fact that they are the adults in the situation. The feud pretty much entirely stems from their first attempts to be cool with the kids. Seth Rogen is pretty much perfectly cast in this regard when you remember that just a few years ago he would have been one of the frat boys.
Neighbors is really the Zac Efron show though. He has all the charisma and charm to pull off the role of fraternity president but his character is also struggling with the knowledge that he’s more than likely peaking in life and is striving to make the best of being the alpha male for his last year at school. This is probably his best performance to date and the one that will cement him as the new Tom Cruise type in Hollywood for the next few years. Yeah, I said it. You should get used to Zac Efron folks, he’s going to be around a while and that’s not a bad thing.
There’s also plenty of time for Byrne and Franco to shine here, she needs to do more comedy if you ask me because he timing is spot on and feels really natural and he needs to be given the lead in a movie already as he’s already locked down the hilarious supporting character in R-rated comedy niche.
All in all Neighbors is a pretty great little movie. It suffers from a few minor problems but at the end of my showing my face hurt from laughing and that’s all that really matters.