Neighbors (2014): Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne face off against Zac Efron and James Franco's younger brother Dave in a battle of ridiculous and hilarious pranks. Need I say more? Oh I know! The frat movie to end all frat movies.
Neighbors. Ok I'm going to be honest. Because that's what I usually do. I try not to have expectations going into a movie, but here I couldn't help it. I had high hopes going into this movie. I was hoping that Neighbors was going to be 2014's This is the End. So is it? Well......no. I think I realized after watching this movie that This is the End is one of the funniest comedies to grace the screens in a long time, so to sit here and hope that anything could match it is a bit unfair, yes? Well, agree with me or not I say it's unfair. First off, the question on everyone's minds: is it funny? Well, my answer is yes. To someone who is in the middle of his college career and is right in the middle of this movie's target audience, this movie is hilarious. To someone over the age of.....40? Maybe? This movie will be disgusting and gross and incredibly offensive. Basically, here's the guideline for this movie: if you thought that This is the End was offensive or borderline offensive, AVOID THIS MOVIE LIKE THE PLAGUE. I don't care if you like Seth Rogen or Zac Efron, this movie is more vulgar and crude than This is the End could even dream of. I didn't think that was possible, until I saw this. Between dick jokes with actual dicks and sex jokes with actual sex and poop jokes with actual poop, this movie holds nothing back with its humor. Nothing. NOTHING. So, consider yourself warned. Now for someone who isn't grossed out by this fact, this movie delivers these jokes in an effective manner and even throws a few smart jokes in from time to time. That said, let's dive into this, shall we?
First up, acting. Most of the cast is solid here. The storyline of Ike Barinholtz and Carlo Gallo was unnecessary as I felt that neither of these actors really carried their weight here, however they only had minor roles so it doesn't matter. Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and Dave Franco were all outstanding and hilarious. Franco and Efron had some great chemistry, and Efron even turned his screen-hogging into a running joke throughout the movie. He was intentionally overacting in this, and it certainly added to the humor. The person who deserves all the praise, however, was Rose Byrne. If there was any question as to whether this beautiful Australian could act or not, it has been officially answered. Before this I had only seen her in horror and action movies (Insidious, Knowing, Start Wars Episode 2, and her unnecessary dramatical role in The Internship) so I was worried that she was going to be unable to hold her weight opposite Rogen. Well not only did she do so, but if you ask me, she outperformed Rogen. I know, bold statement. But she truly was the best part of this movie, as she flawlessly created this badass girl that was able to do everything from convincingly seduce college frat boys to being a mischievous and gutsy new mom. She and Rogen had such great chemistry in this that I actually checked after the movie to see if they are together in real life. (They're not) I really hope that she joins Rogen and James Franco in these movies of theirs from here on out, because damn did she work just as well with Rogen as Franco does.
The story was mostly imrpov'd, as expected, but it was still an effective story for a comedy. There were several jumps with plot lines, such as with Barinholtz and Gallo, and there was this very awkward post-third act after the shenanigans with the neighbors were done that was just a plot device to try to create an "ending" that was unnecessary, like with the ending to This is the End, but it hardly took away from the otherwise satisfying plot. And, as with all comedies, you can forgive a lot of it makes you laugh. And this movie definitely made me laugh.
Some great cameos, wonderful song choices, and rather original editing sequences involving FaceTime conversations, Neighbors is as well-produced as you can get as far as a movie is concerned. NIcholas Stoller did a great job in the directors chair here ensuring that none of the actors got overzealous and started screen hogging. I actually really loved the song choices in this movie. The dance numbers were both catchy and appropriate for what was happening on screen at the time, and when the movie needed some era-specific selections, it did not disappoint. While this movie is certainly not for the feint of heart, I personally look forward to watching this movie again and again. A ver early contender for comedy of the year.
The Critique: While it did not meet my expectations, Neighbors does not fail to bring some great laughs throughout its 96 minute runtime. Great acting, writing, and editing bring together a movie that is exactly that: great.
The Recommendation: please God don't watch this movie if you didn't like This is the End. This movie is very much aimed at college students. Everyone who likes a funny party movie will greatly enjoy this.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great
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