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Film Review – Neighbors (2014)

Neighbors

With the comedy Keeping Up With The Joneses due out this weekend, I thought we should review another movie where questionable neighbors move in next door: Neighbors!  As always, this review will be spoiler free.

Background

Neighbors is directed by Nicholas Stoller and stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne along with Zac Efron and Dave Franco.  Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) have a newborn baby girl and move into their brand new home ready to start their lives as parents.  However, their hope and optimism quickly fades as a fraternity from a local college purchases the home next door.  As you can imagine, hi-jinx ensue as the two sides struggle to keep the power in their neighborhood.

neighbors

image via YouTube

I’ve always loved Seth Rogen and his comedy team.  Their brand of comedy is equally parts witty and ridiculously crass.  His previous effort, This Is The End, was arguably one of my favorite movies of 2013.  The concept of every actor playing a heightened version of themselves while surviving the apocalypse is funny enough, but the execution was devilishly good.  Rogen is great at combining equal parts self-deprecation, wit, and gross out gags.  Some make the argument that he constantly plays himself in movies.  Hell, this is probably true, but damn he hilarious every time.  Nicholas Stoller is also another favorite of mine.  The movie that put him on the map, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is equal parts hilarious and thoughtful.  Needless to say, with this team involved, I was very excited for this movie.

What I Liked

When you watch Neighbors, get ready for more of the same from Rogen and friends which, personally, led to a very enjoyable ride.  Rogen brings his typical comedic chops throughout this movie and does a very solid job of even being the straight man to the fraternity’s funny man (men?).  However, the biggest surprises of the movie come from Rose Byrne and Zac Efron.   Before Neighbors, Rose Byrne did not have many predominant comedic roles, but she absolutely nails it in this movie.  She not only holds her own playing off the comedic timing of Rogen, but even steals a couple scenes.

neighbors

image via YouTube

Zac Efron was also a revelation.  Until this movie, Efron still had the stigma of being the guy from High School Musical and was failing to break out in any other role.  But Neighbors allows Efron to perform in his comfort zone by still being the popular, attractive guy — this gives him the opportunity to just absolutely let loose with ridiculous humor and he does not disappoint.  He plays so well off of Rogen and displays a surprising amount of comedic timing, something that I did not think he could do..

What I Didn’t Like

However (and this tends to be the case with a lot of Rogen movies), there are some lulls in the humor in the middle of the story.  A lot of Rogen movies tend to hit you with a ton of jokes right away, then stray away from gust-busting humor to set up story lines, then hit you again with jokes at the end.  While it is admirable for a comedy to set to try to set up some type of story line with some dramatic heft or weight to it, the ultimate goal of a comedy is to make me laugh, which this movie fails to accomplish at times.

Conclusion

That being said, Neighbors has many very memorable scenes and gags (most notably a fight sequence during the climax) which more than make up for the scenes that do not hit.  I really appreciate the chemistry of the actors in Neighbors.  Any comedy is practically destined to fail without a solid bond between the cast.  The casting for the members of the fraternity was top notch, leading to a really fun versus conflict of Rogen and Byrne against the fraternity.

neighbors

image via Collider

Overall, Neighbors is a super funny, memorable comedy that falls a few gust-busting laughs short of a classic.  For these reasons, I will give Neighbors a B+.


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Nick Kush

A current young professional, Nick founded MovieBabble in October of 2016 in order to provide insightful film analysis that is meant to educate and entertain. Nick is also a member of the Internet Film Critics Society. You can follow Nick at the official MovieBabble Twitter account @MovieBabble_

4 Responses

  1. Efron was indeed a bit of a revelation. You can almost see a slow trajectory in which he’ll next play the evil college guy in a psychological thriller, then the too-perfect rom-com boyfriend, then the jerky rom-com ex-boyfriend, then a soldier in a Middle East war movie, then the young lawyer in a modestly budgeted legal thriller, then the lead male in a fully budgeted rom-com before getting to play a Marvel or DC character. Then his career will be established, his wallet will be full and he can do whatever he wants.

  2. marzia says:

    Hi, but it arrived in Italy Neighbors ? I do not have ever heard ..

  3. Molly says:

    I like this movie too

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