Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: Neighbors (2014)

                   These 'Neighbors' Should Move In Next Door
         While I didn't laugh every second when watching this, much like with Spy, it still showed that men and women can be funny together.

     Neighbors follows the story of a couple named Mac and Kelly Radnor (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) who feel trapped in their mundane life with their baby and marriage. But things begin to change once a college fraternity, led by Teddy (Zac Efron), moves in next door. After one phone call to the police by Mac and Kelly, chaos ensues between both parties.

     I'll go into the main actors first. Seth Rogen, I thought, was his usual funny self. He does the same thing he usually does, but I enjoy that routine. But Zac Efron was a huge surprise as, for his portrayal of a villainous frat student, he is very three-dimensional. He not only nails the 'sinister frat boy with sex appeal' aspect to the character, as well as the deadpan humor, but also the scared little boy who is afraid of life after college. As great as he and Rogen are, though, the film belongs to Rose Byrne. A lot of us know she is a capable dramatic actress, with her work in films like Place Beyond The Pines and Insidious. But here, she lets her freak flag fly with her fierce comedic prowess. She is hilariously layered as the devoted mother bear who also acts as a sex kitten and a chill neighbor. I also thought she and Rogen had wonderful chemistry as the laid-back grownups who long to be invited back to the party. That actually brings me to my next point.

    For such a raunchy comedy, there are some surprisingly poignant themes about the struggle to grow up and be adults. The characters of Mac and Kelly and Teddy work as interesting parallels of one another as Mac and Kelly, despite being married and parents, want to hang with the cool kids again while Teddy is terrified of leaving the party and facing the big, bad world. The VP of Teddy's frat, played by Dave Franco, serves as a perfect foil to Teddy as he has his priorities set pretty straight. That's what I love about films by Judd Apatow and by members of his troupe. Despite the raunchy humor of their films, the characters in their films are actual characters.


    Overall, Neighbors is a comedy that, despite not being laugh a minute, makes up for it with its colorful and entertaining characters and hidden depth-filled storytelling. It is a different kind of coming of age story and I appreciate it a lot for that.

    Would I Recommend It?:
    Yes if you are a fan of the main actors involved. Also, if you don't mind R-rated raunchy humor, then you'll probably enjoy it.

Grade: A