SYNOPSIS: Seth Rogen (This Is the End, 50/50), Zac Efron (The Lucky One, That Awkward Moment) and Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, Insidious series) join forces with director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) for Neighbors, a comedy about a young couple suffering from arrested development who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby.
By all appearances, new parents Mac (Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Byrne) are living the American Dream, one complete with an adorable little girl and a beautiful new starter home in the suburbs. Still, the early-thirtysomethings want to believe that they have a modicum of coolness left within them. This next phase of life is proving to be a challenge, as the reformed (sometime?) partyers struggle with the realities of entering an inevitable new stage: unapologetic adulthood.
When Mac and Kelly discover that their new next-door neighbors are none other than dozens of Delta Psi Beta fraternity brothers—led by charismatic president Teddy Sanders (Efron)—they try to play along and make the best of an awkward situation. But when the frat’s parties grow increasingly more epic, both sides of the property line begin to fend for their turf. As the neighbors’ relentless sabotage and one-upmanship threaten to either get the college kids kicked off the block or make the newlyweds lose what’s left of their sanity, thus begins an epic Greek war for the ages.
REVIEW: This is your National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) style fraternity party meeting Evan Goldberg’s, This is the End (2013), but only it’s cranked even higher. The latter, being last year's comedic hit, renders it safe to say that Neighbors has a decent amount of expectations riding on its shoulders. The cast is ambitious and presents some of the funniest actors in the comedy business today. The trailers were pretty accurate with fairly accurate depictions of what to expect and enough to sell the overall story and basic concept of "family vs. frat". Zac Efron (High School Musical, I,II,III) plays the typical air-headed fraternity President while Seth Rogen (This Is the End, 2013) plays a loyal husband and early father. Joining the cast is Rose Byrne (known most for her role in the Insidious flicks),
Basically this latest Evan Goldberg effort works well because of the dynamics, where we actually care about all of the characters. Rogen and Efron make an incredible comedic duo, and it would be nice to see them paired up again in the near future. The supporting cast includes the likes of Dave Franco (Now You See Me, 2013), and a looking-older, but greater-than-ever Lisa Kudrow (Friends, TV series). Overall, they are all terrific, but I have to note Rose Byrne's performance. She is the out of control, dorky, unhinged badass, and she nails some truly heinous scenes throughout the ninety-six minute runtime. Rogen’s “Mac” character and Byrne’s “Kelly” character's marriage feels like a promise to young married couples who are considering children everywhere. This would be that one can still be irresponsible, weird, hilarious and fun. You can still party and prank and have stupid drunk sex. In other words, you can still be the young (but partly) irresponsible you.
Overall, I can imagine there being a follow up to Neighbors, and I would expect it to be even more outrageous and over-the-top. However, before I get ahead of myself, I expect this release to be a relatively good hit. It's a disgusting, rowdy comedy with an amazing amount of heart. Moreover, it’s usage of slow-motion, time-lapse, camera rotation, lighting changes and good pacing feels very much reminiscent of Rogan’s This is the End and I suspect they took a style or two from 2012’s comedy hit Project X. Nevertheless, I do believe this is a four out of five star flick the warrants the theater visit.
By Movi-Man Stan
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