Depending on your sense of humor, this weekend’s new raunchy comedy, "Neighbors," will either make you laugh out loud and leave a smile on your face throughout, or cause you to be slightly offended and conclude that this film offers nothing but childish, vulgar content. Starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, and more, "Neighbors" uses cheap humor, a series of extreme, immature pranks, and multiple gross-out moments in order to depict one of the most extraordinary cases of bad neighbors, intergenerational warfare, and the many ways people of different ages struggle to fight getting older. This film is over-the-top, excessively foul-mouthed, and shamefully funny in a somewhat of a guilty-pleasure sort of way. However, it is also occasionally witty, filled with a variety of comedic actors and cameos, and is overall humorous and entertaining.
At first glance, Mac (Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Byrne) appear to be very happy living in a nice neighborhood and beginning parenthood with their baby girl. It’s apparent that they still hope to have a good time and are only starting to scratch the surface on how to raise a baby, but all in all, they seem to be doing OK. Soon enough, they go next door to meet their new neighbors and discover that a fraternity from a nearby college is moving in.
At first, Mac and Kelly attempt to play the cool, wise, and hip older couple with a plan to simply ask the frat to keep the noise down due to their baby. For fraternity president, Teddy Sanders (Efron) and vice president, Pete (Franco), their plan is to be nice to the couple, invite them to party at the house, and keep an open dialogue about the potential noise. Mac and Kelly join the frat for a night of alcohol and drug-invested chaos and quickly assume that everything will be easy going with their new neighbors. In no time at all, they realize that these excessively-loud parties will continue and cause problems for them. Following an anonymous attempt to call the police on one of the parties, they are exposed as the complainants. From then on, war ensues between the two houses as they spend the remainder of the film trying to out-do each other, drive each other crazy, and destroy one another.
"Neighbors" is the kind of movie that goes all-in on dirty, sexual, juvenile humor. It features characters doing dumb, irresponsible acts, and takes most things too far. There’s not much that this film doesn’t have to offer when you combine a variety of physical altercations, drug-and-alcohol-sponsored party montages, numerous stereotypes, and provocative, sexual actions with attempts at presenting a deeper message of dealing with change and growing older. It’s even loaded with an assortment of other movie and pop culture references, real life impressions, etc. All of this makes for an entertaining movie for college or fraternity types, young adults, newly-married couples, those looking for mostly male-driven humor and pure debauchery, and perhaps anyone who has experienced a bad-neighbor situation.
Aside from the main cast, there are numerous cameos or supporting performances from familiar comedic actors, such as Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Adam DeVine, Jake Johnson, Lisa Kudrow, and more. The film has many great moments between Rogen and Byrne as they present an interesting couple with decent chemistry and the ability to compliment each other in comedic, energetic, and sexual ways. At first, they appear to be somewhat reckless as parents, but they make a great team in the end against the fraternity. Zach Efron gives a suitable performance as an arrogant, dense, typical college fraternity guy. He also makes a worthy adversary for team Rogen/Byrne. There are a fair amount of entertaining exchanges, clashes, and buddy-buddy moments between Rogen and Efron.
Surprisingly enough, beneath all of the bad language, ridiculous pranks and idiocies, and constant crudity, there are some truths and realities to what is being presented. On one side, you have Mac and Kelly Radner, the new parents who are trying to hold onto their youthful years and wanting to still have fun. On the other side, you have young college students and frat boys who deep down are worried about the future while trying to make the most out of their college years. It’s bad luck that a fraternity house has to be stuck in a neighborhood full of families, but when it comes down to it, both sides go to extremes to have a good time and attempt to out do the other in less-than-acceptable ways. They are each trying to be something that they are not, while trying to deny the inevitable changes that come with getting older. In the end, they all see the error in their ways, learn to be happy with their lives, and strive to be the best they can be.
Check out "Neighbors" this weekend, if you dare! Enjoy the movies!
Rated 3 out of 5 stars.
"Neighbors" is rated R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout. Running time is 1 hour and 36 minutes.
Hayden Pittman is a special contributor to WFAA.com and a freelance film critic and entertainment blogger out of Dallas. More of his content can be found on YouPlusDallas.com and his author archive here. For more of his reviews on WFAA, click here. He is a film, TV, and sports enthusiast, and when not writing reviews or covering an event, he works in film production. As an average, passionate film lover who rarely misses a film, his reviews are straightforward and his way with words will let you know in a simple way what he thinks. Don’t like what he has to say? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @HPMoviePitt.