Synopsis: A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.
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Neighbors teams up Zac Efron and Seth Rogen in a film that combines a variety of familiar comedic formulas that incite humor from crude and shocking situations. Like many comedies of this nature, Neighbors has many simplistic elements (plot, character development, etc) keeping the focal point on intermittent moments of laughter. For this type of comedy, this formula has been proven to succeed and achieves its goal in this film as well. The presence of an out of place group (the fraternity) in a common suburban setting is a unique enough plot situation to easily establish the rivalry between Mac (Rogen) and Teddy (Efron) which in turn fuels the majority of the film’s humor by establishing a continuously escalating prank war. Without ruining the fun for everyone, I will say that the pranks continually grow in their levels of extremities and crudeness and the shock value brings about many laugh out loud moments.
What fuels the prank rivalry is an underlying element that is continually touched on throughout the film. Teddy is a glimpse of the life that Mac once had and Mac is a glimpse of what is to come after graduation for Teddy. While this brings about tension from resentment, it also establishes a common ground between them early on. The age and physical differences between the characters are also the other elements of consistent humor in the film. Initially the apparent difference between the physical appearances of Rogen and Efron are humorous but it eventually becomes tiresome, especially the moments where Efron is obviously posing for the camera.
The supporting cast establish their own moments of humor and also act as the voice of reason on the opposing sides of the Teddy/Mac rivalry. Rose Byrne has subtle moments of humor that are few and far between but still funny as she randomly involves and distances herself from the rivalry. She was funny in her own way but far from the highlight of the film. Dave Franco on the other hand, is a consistent riot. A moment that I found particularly funny was his scene for the fraternity’s Robert DeNiro themed party. I was hysterically laughing at his spot on impression of DeNiro from Meet the Parents. In other moments his involvement definitely supplemented the fraternity style humor with Zac Efron. If you have seen 21 Jump Street and enjoyed him in that, I think you will definitely enjoy him in Neighbors.
Overall I would say this film was a very formulaic comedy but definitely one that made me laugh. Is it something that you should rush to the theater to see? If you want a good laugh to talk about with your friends then yes, otherwise I don’t think you would be missing out by waiting to rent it (as with many comedies). The point of a comedy is to make you laugh and this is a film that definitely succeeds in that regard. If you enjoy Seth Rogen or any college humor type films then I would recommend this as a comedy to see. And for those of you that require more thought provoking humor, I would say to pass on this film because this is definitely a shock and awe comedy.
Neighbors – 6.5 out of 10
A shock and awe comedy that maintains consistent laughter…