Neighbors (2014) – Film Review

Neighbors (Bad Neighbours)

Starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, and Dave Franco

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

IMDB Rating: 6.4

Review by Rachel Geiger

One of the funniest comedies from 2014, Neighbors is a funny movie about a couple with a new baby living next door to a fraternity house. A lot of the comedy used in the movie aren’t original, but the acting and the writing helps this movie stand up.

The movie follows Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) who have just moved into their new house and are settling in with their new baby. The couple both secretly miss their old lifestyle of going out partying and are reminded of that when they learn the Delta Psi Beta lives next door. The frat is known for the wild parties that they throw. Mac and Kelly struggle to act as parents and to be cool adults that support the parties thrown by the frat. Eventually, the couple takes action and calls the cops. The two leaders of the frat (Zac Efron and Dave Franco) are told that their new neighbors called the cops on them which then leads to a (kind of) massive war between them.

The story is a pretty simple one that can be a bit overdone in terms of movies. Hollywood tends to over exaggerate fraternities in movies. All that aside, it’s the acting that really holds the movie together. The writing is also fairly decent and some of the antics that the characters take part in are hilarious to watch unfold. The comedic timing of Zac Efron was actually fairly surprising. He was able to hold his own up against Seth Rogen, one of the funniest actors around right now. Also surprising was how well developed and hilarious Kelly’s story was. Bryne really brought the character to life in a natural way.

As far as acting performances go, this movie has some pretty good ones. Seth Rogen more or less plays the same type of character with every role. He’s always taking on the part of the funny guy which can get kind of old after awhile. However, him sharing the screen with Zac Efron was a weird but hilarious and awesome matchup. Efron isn’t a bad actor by any means, he really gets into this character. His character Teddy is the leader of the frat and he’s the stereotypical douchebag who appears like a nice guy on the surface but he takes the fraternity more serious than any of the other guys. By the end of the movie, you sympathize with him once you realize that’s all he honestly has. I believe only Efron could make you feel that way, he was truly great. Dave Franco plays Pete, Teddy’s sidekick who decides halfway through the movie that he no longer wants to be his sidekick. I really love the way Franco plays this role and he makes us root for him throughout the movie. As I already hinted at, Rose Byrne was amazing in this role. Although I could never in a million years see her marrying Seth Rogen, her sweetness but also her determination to get this frat boys out of the neighborhood is hilarious to watch.

When it comes to comedies, it doesn’t feel as if directors have that active of a role. That could be an assumption, but films that are dramas seem to involve more focus on all the particular sights and details of the surroundings and comedies don’t seem to do that as much but I could be wrong! All in all though, I think that Stoller did a nice job with capturing all this chaos that happens within these two hours or so. I also think he couldn’t have had a more hilarious cast, they were each great with their respective roles.

As a whole, I think this was a funny movie due to the very on point comedic timing of both Rogen and Efron. I wouldn’t say it’s the funniest movie of the decade by any means, but it wasn’t filled with downright outrageous jokes that completely miss the mark either. I’d say it was a successful comedy that had a lot of humorous action and was never boring. If you are in the mood to watch a movie that makes you laugh, definitely tune in to this one.

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