Seth Rogen, Zac Efron
May 9, 2014
1 hour 37 minutes
The last time a movie attempted to be outrageous and memorable for its party sequences was the 2012 mediocre teen part flick "Project X." The party might have been fun at first, but the film got way too dark and too crazy for my own liking, plus the characters weren't all that interesting. In a way, it seems that Universal Pictures and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" director Nicholas Stoller saw this, and thus "Neighbors" was born. The film stars hollywood funny-man Seth Rogen and "Bridesmaids" star Rose Byrne as a married couple with an infant child who just moved into a new home in a seemingly quiet and tame neighborhood, only to have all of that thrown out the window when a college fraternity moves in next door. Of course hijinks ensue, and for the most part, the film is extremely entertaining. In fact, I'd say that this might be the smartest comedy I've seen all year, which is saying something considering that I've already seen a comedy that doesn't even come out until August.
If there is anything from this movie that immediately comes to mind, it's the performances from Zac Efron and Rose Byrne. Having seen a sizable amount of films on his resume, I can happily say that this is, without a doubt, the best performance Zac Efron has ever given. Not only is he entertaining as hell, but as a character Efron manages to flesh him out and make us sort of root for him while he does all of these crazy things to Rogen and Byrne's characters throughout the film. And believe it or not, there are reasons as to why he does the things he does, which I won't give away here. As for Byrne, all I'll say about her is that this is the type of wife that guys would want to have. Everything this lady does not only is very funny, but also kind of awesome and badass in a way. This is one of those performances you have to see to believe, along with Efron's.
As for the rest of the cast, everyone is good. Seth Rogen plays Seth Rogen, which is always enjoyable depending on whether or not you're a fan of his work. Dave Franco, brother of James, has some very funny moments as one of the frat brothers in the house. He has a pivotal role to the story, and the way that's executed is handled very well. We also have actors like Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Ike Barinholtz, and Craig Roberts who pop up and are very funny when they're on screen. Then there are a series of cameos towards the beginning of the film that, if you haven't read anything about the cast on IMDB, are very funny because of how random they are. And finally, there are the two infant actresses playing the baby of Rogen and Byrne's characters, Stella, played by Elise and Zoey Vargas. I swear, these two babies are the single most adorable creatures put on film in a veery long time, and they help to make the film a lot sweeter and a lot funnier than it was. Plus, the end credits feature them in the most adorable of ways. Overall the entire cast was really good, but the two showstoppers were undoubtedly Zac Efron and Rose Byrne.
I give major props to director Nicholas Stoller for taking what could have been just your average, run of the mill college film, and made it into something that is visually stunning. I'm not kidding, the party sequences are well edited and look awesome to watch. Not to mention, Stoller shows here that he not only knows how to successfully tell a smartly crafted comedy, but he also knows how to have fun doing it. Speaking of this film's intelligence, I applaud Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien, two first time screenwriters, for making a frat film that can also serve as a metaphor for growing up and being an adult in general. Plus, there are so many quotes that can be spewed from this film that I wouldn't be surprised if it got as popular as something like "Mean Girls" in the coming years.
While I didn't enjoy "Neighbors" as much as I wanted to, plus I wanted it to be funnier at times, I still had a really fun time with this movie. The actors, particularly Zac Efron and Rose Byrne, were a lot of fun to watch and were very funny overall. Nick Stoller's direction was great, which helped to make the party scenes beautiful and awesome to watch. And finally, the two first time screenwriters behind this film clearly took the ideas in this film from personal experience, and in return have made a movie that may go down as a "classic" amongst the future teenagers and college kids of the world. "Neighbors" is a raunchy, unapologetic, smart, and very funny comedy that I actually look forward to revisiting with friends in the coming months. And word to the wise, do your best to see this with a sold-out audience. Trust me, it will be a lot more fun if you see this movie with as big an audience as possible.
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