Starring-Zac Efron, Seth Rogan
Scott’s Review #229
Reviewed March 15, 2015
By far one of the worst movies I have seen in some time, Neighbors is a silly, redundant, nonsensical, and plain old bad film. Whoever thought this film was a good idea and green-lit it must have their head examined. Successful comedies- even raunchy, slapstick comedy, contain perfect comic timing and likeable characters that the audience roots for, and at least a shred of creativity and originality- Neighbors has none of these qualities. Bridesmaids is an example of a modern raunchy comedy that works and is hysterical- sadly, Neighbors is a far cry from Bridesmaids.
Neighbors stars Seth Rogan, a familiar face in the slapstick comedy genre, along with Rose Byrne as Mac and Kelly Radner, a married couple in their thirties with a newborn baby named Stella. Former party animals in their own college days, the two live in a college town and attempt to peacefully bring up their daughter in a great neighborhood. One day, Delta Psi Beta, a fraternity known to be one of the rowdiest of frats, moves into the house next door to the Radner’s and immediately begins causing chaos with their never ending, rambunctious parties. The frat is led by Teddy, played by Zac Efron. Initially striking up a mutual respect, the Radner’s relationship with Teddy is ruined due to a misunderstanding involving the police being called one night. The remainder of the film focuses on Mac and Kelly’s attempts at getting the fraternity to move out of their house by sabotaging parties and pitting various frat brothers against each other, causing hijinks to ensue and a war to develop between parents and college kids.
If Neighbors is an attempt to harken back to the days of delicious college comedies such as Animal House or American Pie, the film fails on every level- it is simply not funny. It contains a plot that is so unoriginal and the jokes featured to death in similar films (bathroom humor, frat jokes, drug jokes, male and female anatomy jokes) and by this point if you have seen one Seth Rogan film you have seen them all- he is a one trick pony and has become what Adam Sandler became- tired and dull. Rose Byrne’s annoying character had me believing the actress was using a poor Australian accent only to realize that the actress is in fact Australian. This is not a testament to Ms. Byrne’s acting ability by the way.
The protagonists are quite irritating and not likeable at all. What is the rooting value? Mac and Kelly are irresponsible parents. They presumably leave Stella at home in order to visit the frat house and wind up getting drunk and high, stay out late, wake up early the next day when Kelly attempts to feed Stella using tainted breast milk, which leads us to an unfunny scene between Mac and Kelly focusing on Kelly’s vein popping breasts, which makes no sense anyway. Other suspensions of disbelief and logic pop up left and right- Why would the police reveal to the fraternity the names of who had called to complain about them and after catching the Radner’s in a lie, tell them never to call the police again? How unrealistic. Mac and Kelly live in a college town, the risk of a fraternity or sorority being close by never occurred to them? They acted surprised that college students existed at all. The wonderful Lisa Kudrow is cast in a ridiculous role as the college Dean, but is completely wasted in a hysterical, bubble-headed, dumb role.
If I had to give a positive to Neighbors, it would be that Zac Efron does a halfway decent job portraying his character Teddy and Efron does possess a good deal of acting talent (think-The Paperboy), but I am being quite generous and looking for a bright side to a train wreck. The film is poor.