Neighbors – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

As with most Seth Rogen movies, the comedy is about the oddness of close male relationships, jackass style violence, and somewhere amongst that is character development.

Review (with Spoilers)

Whenever Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg come together, usually magic happens. The only exception being The Guilt Trip, and maybe The Watch as well. Otherwise, they are comic masterminds. They will use this bromance culture and push jokes about intimacy between men to the point it almost seems like homophobia. Then, of course, there are the jokes in which you look at these grown men, the people who seemingly have too much of a love for Will Ferrell, who are seemingly are always on the brink of something. Be it the brink of adulthood, in this movie; the brink of realizing they may have outgrown their friends, like in This Is The End; and in each Seth Rogen movie, and maybe Judd Apatow as well, you can see people on the brink of a major life change trying to get one last hoorah before they have to settle for normalcy. And this movie is no different.

Characters & Story

Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne), have just had a baby around 6 months ago, and now have a new home to really perfect their little family. Thing is, though, with them having a family comes the idea that they can’t be fun anymore. They can’t go out with party girl/ best friend Paula (Carla Gallo) or creepy best friend Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) because they have a baby. But then a fraternity, Delta Psi, ran by Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) move in next door.

Now, when they first move in, Mac and Kelly have mixed feelings about them moving in. But, with Teddy trying to win them over, he invites them for a party and things get pretty weird, but overall Teddy bonds with Mac, and things seems cool. However, when one party gets too loud and Teddy doesn’t pick up the phone to hear how Mac wants them to turn it down because it’s 4AM and he has work and a baby, they call the cops and this breaks the circle of trust.

From there, it is an utter war between the two houses, featuring lots of comedic moments, but with an underbelly dealing with the issues of adulthood. Mac and Kelly get a thrill out of going back and forth with Delta Psi, Kelly especially who comes up with some of the biggest comebacks, and you realize that this whole thing is their last big hoorah before they have to settle down to be some type of example for their daughter. As for Pete and Teddy, Pete is on his way to becoming something, and since his parents seemingly had a nasty divorce, Delta Psi, and Teddy especially, really create a stable family environment he feels loyal to. Then, when it comes to Teddy, he seemingly is trying to get one last hoorah just like Mac and Kelly, if only because he isn’t capable of growing up yet. His GPA is a 2. something, and while Pete is going places, Teddy seemingly puts all his efforts into the frat. Making for a film which tries to balance a revenge plot with four people scared and anxious about what it means to be an adult.

Praise

54 laughs for a 97 minutes movie isn’t that bad in my opinion, and while the jokes are certainly not the kind which may make you think, you will be laughing to the point of maybe getting a headache from the lack of air in your chest. Efron and Franco seem like a match made in bromance heaven, and their relationship in the movie is just as close and intimate as Rogen and Byrne’s. Their friendship, even without a huge amount of details, you can see it as what grounds the other person, and even when a girl almost gets between them, they try to work through the issue. And while the film is essentially a comedy, I do appreciate how like This is The End and Bad Grandpa, there is an attempt at a deeper storyline amongst all the jokes.

Criticism

Thing is, unlike Bad Grandpa and even This is The End, the attempt at creating a slightly deeper story isn’t that smooth. It is good enough to get the point across, and allows Efron especially to get some good scenes, but considering how far the jokes go, it is hard to really listen to Efron’s problems with getting serious about post-grad life, as well as some of his issues with Franco’s character, and really take it seriously. If just because the timeline of the movie feels rushed so when Pete betrays Teddy’s trust, they fight and make up within a day. When Kelly and Mac fight and Kelly leaves Mac, again, they get back together within a day. So, it is like these moments when things get real are just there to give you a moment to catch your breath than to really, properly, evolve the characters.

Overall: Worth Seeing

Admittedly, I am leaning toward saying this is TV viewing, but the jokes are what push this film toward me thinking it is worth seeing. For while the jokes are the usual style of a Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill movie, their shtick, to me anyway, hasn’t gotten old yet. I must admit, though, I do feel the amount of jokes and comedy are made to compensate for a rather basic story which has the potential to give us flawed and interesting characters, but rather make you laugh than really allow us to understand the issues and reality of the characters. But, at the same time, not every film should be planned out to be a dramedy right?

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