Written by Steven Panzarella(@ProCreateSteve)
The Short- Seth Rogen Nicholas Stoller strike again in Neighbors, thanks to scene stealing performances from Dave Franco, Rose Byrne and Ike Barinholtz along with two top shelf performances from Rogen and Efron Neighbors shows that very few people are making as many consistently funny films as Seth Rogen and company.
It's been done before, the frat house comedies and the man-child needing to grow up comedies. We have seen them a lot, and they even combined those two for movies like Old School. It's been over 10 years since Old School and now with Nicholas Stoller (Muppets Most Wanted, Get Him To The Greek) directing a cast led by Seth Rogen and Zac Efron we finally have a comedy that for fans might be in the same breath as the legendary Old School. Rogen plays Mac, along with wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) they are in there new home with an adorable baby girl. After weeks of wondering who their neighbors will be they find that a fraternity from the local college has moved into their neighborhood and right next door. The frat's fearless leader are Teddy ( a perfectly cast Zac Efron) and Pete (Scene stealing Dave Franco), after an early awkward meeting between the two new parents and the frat, mac and Kelly hope the frat will help them return to their young roots but also keep the noise down. When only one of those things occur a war between the two begins.
I don't know of anyone right now that is more suited to do a movie like this other than Seth Rogen, it's a perfect fit for the actor who has found his niche in stoner comedy, and the casting for this film can be called nothing short of its biggest success. Zac Efron plays the frat leader with an air of intelligent stupidity that perfectly describes what the leader of a fraternity that at the beginning of the movie sets up a fantastic flashback that includes plenty of cameos describing the frats illustrious history from creating beer pong, to the toga party. Alongside Efron and Franco in the fraternity is a cast that includes a totally underutilized Christopher Mintz-Plasse who appears in the whole flick but has almost no dialogue until the final act. As well as comedian Jerrod Carmichael who plays another frat member who has more than a few funny moments throughout the film including a run in with the cop played by Hannibal Buress. Adding to the cast are friends of Mac and Kelly, Jimmy and Paula played hilariously by Ike Barinholtz(The Mindy Project) and Carla Gallo (Bones).
I can understand not enjoying Neighbors, some of the funnier moments appear in the trailer and if the profane humor is not your style then obviously you are skipping an R rated comedy but for all the predictable moments it was still pretty darn hilarious. Thanks in large part to Rogen and Efron but stealing the show were Byrne and Franco. A number of scenes throughout the film Rose Byrne earned big laughs especially one or two scenes in particular that will stand out to audiences as some of the best moments. Dave Franco whose best work came in 21 Jump Street also finds a way to take over a few major scenes thanks to a fantastic Robert DeNiro impression and managing to wrestle some scenes away from Efron who becomes the films villain as well as its most important centerpiece for laughs.
Yes part of Neighbors is to highlight the absolute insanity of fraternity life, but it also highlights two adults who are admittedly growing up way too fast. They are just not quite willing to give up drinking, partying, drug use and the things they used to do before becoming responsible adults. Stoller makes sure to play up the fact that neither Mac nor Kelly are very good parents to this point, in fact they are pretty horrible but that’s the point isn’t it? The laughs they get from Kelly and Mac not acting their age are some of the more organic moments of Neighbors, thanks in large part to a fun chemistry between Byrne and Rogen.
For all of its faults Neighbors still manages to get plenty of laughs and thanks to a fun script and hysterical performances it actually is one of the funnier comedies we may see this year. It shows that Nicholas Stoller and Seth Rogen are right now making some of the best comedies in Hollywood today.