Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne
It should be noted that when it comes to the genre of comedy, I can be a cold cynical bastard. Also, I don’t know how to have fun.
My personal all time favorite comedy is the classic “National Lampoons Animal House” due to its high replay-ability, endlessly repeatable lines and subtle background jokes that I’m still finding every time I watch it. The setting of College has been done to death with comedies and in pretty much every single one of them they always do the same college clichés. The party frat, the fat guy, the school Dean/figure of authority, heavy drinking or substance abuse and, of course, the ruin everything for everyone ending. If you’re new to college comedies and have no idea of these clichés, then I would recommend Neighbors, but to anyone else it’s more of the same.
Neighbors is the story about Mac and Kelly (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) who are a up and coming couple who have a new baby and are experiencing the new adult life while still trying to be young at heart. One day they find their empty neighbors house has been bought by a fraternity from their local college. They try to talk to the frat’s head president Teddy (played by Zac Efron) by explaining to them that they have a new kid and to keep the parting noise to a minimum. After the frat says its cool, they immediately disregard their word and start an all out war between the two houses.
I went into this film knowing absolutely nothing other than the poster, so my expectations were not high to begin with. The problems with Neighbors is mostly in the screenwriting no body acts like a normal human being at any given time, making every single character thoroughly unlikeable with any respect. Another problem with the writing is the astounding use of convenience such as, in one scene the frat must raise $10,000 or else their house is ruined. Literately within the next three minutes the entire subplot is resolved with no other proof than, the script said so. Its baffling to watch with no one in my audience even caring to notice. Something that I also found to be…strange, to say the least, is the transitions between scenes. What I mean by that is the actual transitions, every single one of them used straight out of final cut pro. The choice is completely unnecessary and seriously took me out of the movie.
As for the story itself, like I listed three hundred and twelve words ago, has every single cliché in the college humor book and is extremely disappointing. Did I find the film funny? Well if you consider one chuckle in the entire film to be funny then this is the film for you. Again this may be due to my standards for comedy being extremely high, while my audience kept laughing it up at every single joke. Strangely there is a very blatant moment in the film, where the movie stops and a commercial for AT&T interrupts the film. I’m not even making this up. Christoher Mintz-Plasse aka “McLovin” has a small role in this film, which makes it even more distracting since he only has around a dozen or so lines which makes me ask why even bother casting him as a background character? The John Belushi effect perhaps?
I would like to commend the film for having a very realistic representation for what a real couple with a newborn baby would act like given the situation of having to make the baby happy while living their normal lives.
When it comes down to it, would I recommend Neighbors? Only to those who are very interested in it, and only at a rental at Redbox or something similar. Its not necessarily a bad movie, but a film that had so much potential and squanders it on the clichés of its past while trying to make it hip and fresh to a younger generation. I asked my girlfriend, who enjoyed the film much more than me, and she also agreed that a rental would be best for something like this. If you pay eleven dollars, you’re only getting ripped off.