Friday, May 9, 2014


Neighbors is the comedic romp of Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne's young family up against their new neighbors, a frat led by Zac Efron and Dave Franco. I had high hopes for this one and it did deliver the laughs. The promotional oversaturation of all new releases more often than not begs the question, "are all the good parts in the trailer?" Particularly with comedies, one often can't help but wonder if all the funny parts are in the previews too. I am happy to report that there are many more jokes than in the trailers. And the jokes from the previews pass mostly at the very beginning. Rose Byrne was great in it, she held her own against the guys and it was fun to hear her Australian accent for a change. There are plenty of cameos early on and one casting choice that was a surprise to me. I loved that actor popping up. As I like to do, I will leave it as a surprise here. If you know me, you will know exactly why I was so tickled when you see the character.

There was only one, maybe two, scenes towards the end that could have been shorter. That's really the only criticism I have. You get what is advertised, a funny R Rated comedy with Seth Rogen doing what he does, this time as a new dad. The fraternity movie stereotypes were all present but they had a fresh coat of paint and a different angle. See the "How To Make the Ultimate Greek Movie" article from last week's Entertainment Weekly to jog your memory. The print version does have some excellent visuals and sidebars that are missing online -- it's the EW with Orange is the New Black on the cover (so you should be reading it anyway, but that's a post for another day...). There are tons of pop culture references throughout the dialogue of Neighbors, which I very much enjoyed, and the soundtrack is fantastic. Lots of good party music and well timed musical cues.
In watching press for Neighbors, it was discussed on the Graham Norton Show, when Seth Rogen and Zac Efron were guests, that there are no fraternities in Canada or the UK. The flick is also called Bad Neighbors in its UK release. Rogen gave the explanation that frats are like rugby teams, guys drink and beat up the littlest guy. Rogen and Efron also appeared in Jimmy Fallon's "ew" bit and it is hilarious. Efron nailed his role in a similar style to when Channing Tatum did the sketch with Jimmy. Rogen has a full beard and is in no way a convincing tween girl. How bad he is at it, makes it good. The selfies and the dancing are the best parts. 
If you are looking for a crazy comedy that has the heart to ground it, check out Neighbors.