Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Neighbors - Review

A fraternity moves right next door to a house-owning couple (Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne) with a baby in tow. Annoyed with the rampant parties, causing them to act like real adults for a change, the two break their promise with the frat president (Zac Efron) and call the cops on them. From then on, the two families engage in a long contest of mischievousness until one either throws in the towel or is kicked off the block. NEIGHBORS is both extremely funny and purposefully sordid. It relishes having all of the characters behave very badly, solely in order to feature all of the hard partying the audience expects to take in but also use it to make a point about how the lucid lust of college life will eventually make way for reality. All of the cast do a really great job, with Rogen and Bryne bringing the bigger laughs. The two even poke fun at the popular movie stereotype of a slobbish man and hot wife. Unfortunately, there are some elements that quickly sober up the film. Whether it is the screenwriters or director Nicholas Stoller's fault, the story is wildly uneven. Many subplots don't advance and/or reach a proper conclusion, such as Rogen's distaste with his boring tech job, the bros' mission to be included into the frat's wall of fame, and the fate of a supporting character's professional future. There's also the hard stomp to the brakes mid-movie: the hostilities reach an impasse, causing both houses to stand around in quiet discomfort for awhile until Rogen and Byrne finally have the urge again to fight back. This then leads to the film's most distasteful moment; despite featuring a lot of black humor, the film kicks off Act Three with a character hinting at sexual harassment later down the line. It's supposed to show how he/she has gone way too far with this feud, while also making it clear what side the audience should be firmly behind, but the fact that the movie had to go that low is extremely disheartening. Still, NEIGHBORS is an enjoyable comedy that deserves to later be unironically celebrated in every Greek-lettered house.


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