Neighbors Movie Review
I'm buzzed, which seems like a fitting state to review the new R-rated comedy Neighbors, which has an immature Zac Efron and his fraternity brothers battling an immature couple played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne. Crazy antics ensue, and we're expected to laugh along. Laugh we will, at least sometimes.
The movie is directed by Nicholas Stoller, who made the hilarious Forgetting Sarah Marshall but also the wildly inconsistent Get Him to the Greek and The Five-Year Engagement. More importantly, it's written by two guys who have no prior experience making a feature-length film.
That experience, or lack thereof, shows. Neighbors is a generally entertaining and occasionally hilarious comedy that works on a basic level but doesn't give many reasons to play a second round of beer pong.
Rogen, Byrne and Efron are at the top of their game; all three go all-in to evoke laughs, which is great because they really needed to go all-in to evoke laughs from what is unfortunately a one-note screenplay. You'll laugh a fair amount throughout the movie, but unless you're in college, you'll also realize the filmmakers are trying a little too hard to be funny. The characters played by Rogen and Byrne are relatable, but some of their antics—especially early on when they are trying to fit in with their younger neighbors—are so forced, over-the-top and unbelievable it's pretty nauseating. The movie was clearly written by filmmakers who have little direct knowledge of how ordinary couples or fraternities operate; much of the humor is cliché and Hollywood-ized as a result.
Nonetheless, Neighbors is funny and, at a rudimentary level, serves its purpose. The characters encounter some pretty absurd situations, and when the filmmakers let loose and push limits the film thrives.
Neighbors is a pretty straightforward comedy. It's funny but not particularly clever, entertaining but a little forced. It's fun while it lasts, but has little lasting effect and offers few reasons to watch it again. It's like This is the End, only not as clever, unique or funny.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.