Summer movie season is now in full effect! With the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 two weeks ago and the impending arrival of Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past, it may seem like there is no time to relax between film releases. But Seth Rogen‘s latest film, Neighbors offers that chance to relax, cleanse the palette of all of those dramatic action films, and laugh a bit. And when I say a bit, I mean a hell of a lot.
In Neighbors, Seth Rogen plays Mac Radner, a thirty-something-year-old who has just had a child with his wife Kelly (played by Rose Byrne). They are both trying to get the hang of growing up and being parents while attempting to hold on to the partying ways of their younger years. Meanwhile, a fraternity composed of Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and others has just moved in next door and it turns into a classic battle of the neighbors. The old people want peace and quiet for their new family while the fraternity wants to party…and the comedy ensues.
The film truly stood out to me in the aspect of the relationship between the two parties. Going into the movie I expected for Efron and company to naturally hate their older neighbors, but it is quite the contrary. Like previously stated, both Rogen and Byrne are trying to adjust to their new lives as parents, but they want to be considered cool as well. They head over to the frat’s house to introduce themselves while being “cool”, and Efron realizes that having a good relationship with the neighbors could have its benefits so they invite Rogen and Byrne to party. They then party and become very close. This entire party scene is hilarious and shows them bonding through a montage. After Efron fails to keep his promise about keeping the noise down, Rogen calls the police and hurts Efron’s feelings. This is the catalyst for the actual war between the two houses.
The film then follows the copy and paste montage of both houses’ attacks on each other. This is the film’s strongest note while also being its worst. The quick jokes and references made throughout the film are hilarious and are almost non-stop. But the houses’ duel becomes a bit unbelievable. For example, the fraternity breaks into Byrne’s car, steals the airbags and places them in both Rogen’s workplace as well as Rogen’s home. This means that they broke into their house, which is reason enough for an arrest or at the very least an eviction from the house.
Another element of the film that makes no sense is the relationship between Zac Efron’s character, Teddy and Dave Franco’s character, Pete. Initially they appear to be very close friends, but in an attempt to turn them into enemies, Byrne gets Franco to sleep with Efron’s girlfriend. Efron finds out and fights Franco, but they later make up. Later Efron confesses that he never really forgave Franco, but then later Efron confesses that he loves Franco and everything is fine between them. It is extremely back and forth between the two and doesn’t really connect well. This, combined with the inconsistencies of the Franco’s character, cause a small bump in an otherwise smooth road.
But let’s get real, people aren’t going into this movie looking for an airtight plot. They want to forget about finals week or work and laugh. And this film delivers laughs in abundance. As previously stated, the jokes are almost non-stop. The entire cast played their parts well with a stand-out performance by Efron that made me actually respect him. Even Ike Barinholtz’s supporting role was given some great dialogue and jokes.
All-in-all the film is a great comedy movie. I haven’t laughed that hard at a movie since This Is The End which was, coincidentally, Rogen’s last major role. Every single moment of the film had me either chuckling or tearing up with laughter (special nod to the Robert DeNiro party scene). Even with the extremely minor plot holes, the film is a huge treat and was a welcome breath of fresh air from the action packed films coming our way. I highly recommend checking out Neighbors.