Although I’ve never lived next door to a frat house, I have had noisy neighbors. We all have at some point, and the majority of us have faced the war path taken in Neighbors. Hindsight is always 20/20, so I admit, maybe throwing that near expired fish into the open window of my upstairs neighbor’s place while they left for work on a hot summer day wasn’t the most mature recourse, but boy did it make me feel good at the time.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly(Rose Byrne) just had a little girl and finished moving into a quintessential, suburban neighborhood to begin their “adult” life. Like a generic 1950’s tv couple, Mac works a cubicled, 9 to 5 job while Kelly stays at home and assumes the job of stay-at-home mom. Slowly, monotony has taken root and their transformation is almost complete until their unlikely new next-door neighbors, a university frat house, moves in and complicates their normalcy. After an incident where an inept police officer is called, the two fraternity heads (Zac Efron and Dave Franco) declare wars. Names are thrown around, airbags are deployed and De Niro’s are impersonated. After all, the only way to fight kids is by acting like one, right?
It takes a certain amount of intelligence to write characters and situations so profoundly dumb that they seem impossible, but still come off as believable (aside from a frat house opening up in a residential community of course). Most people will deny ever getting into similar situations, but they’d be lying. Any driver who has been cut off by another driver will know how quickly things can escalate. Every prank and joke is effectively executed that more times than not, it hits it mark on the head, hard.
Neighbors is one Jonah Hill short of being the usual comedic rat pack since it has Rogen, a Franco and Mintz-Plasse. The addition of up-and-coming comedienne Rose Byrne helps bring an added layer of humor (and sex appeal) to what would otherwise be an overstuffed sausage fest. Zac Efron is the obvious eye candy, but also handles himself competently in what can probably be considered by many as his best, not high school related role yet. For Efron, that’s not saying much.
Despite some over the top situations and a vulgar joke or two, Neighbors’ (crash) lands its humor well enough to leave us in stitches. As always, the performances of the usual suspects is on point for what the situations call for, but the true stand out is Rose Byrne. Their formula is familiar, but still effective and presented originally enough to keep from rolling our eyes. I wouldn’t buy a house near Neighbors, but I would definitely visit very often.
RATING: ★★★★★★★(7/10 stars)
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