Neighbors (2014)

neighborsThis post includes vague spoilers.

The kind of house next door relationship Neighbors portrays is something I’ve never experienced and most likely won’t get the chance to. Though, having Zac Efron and Dave Franco living next door would be a dream come true, huge fake dildos and weed-parties included.

First off, when it comes to American comedies I seemed to have developed a rather thick skin because it has been harder and harder to entertain me with physical and vile humor. I’m not saying this is all what American humor is, but let’s face it, there’s a lot of bodily harm and jokes about body-parts or body-fluids that are present in the comedies nowadays. It’s funny at times, I get it, but looking at the big picture, I do get annoyed sometimes. That being said, Neighbors half fell into one of those categories of annoyance and though I still enjoyed Efron, Franco and Rogen, there was something missing and it simply didn’t wow me.

The plot starts off by introducing us to Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne), first time parents with the cutest baby ever, having to be forced to live next door to a fraternity house lead by Teddy (Efron) and Pete (Franco). At first, Mac and Kelly try to reason, being friendly with the young man in order to keep the parties low on volume and not to blast the music until the early hours of the morning. This is something that the fraternity obviously does not do at all and therefore, the backstabbing and scheming commences! Now, while this plot seems refreshing and there’s an interesting dynamic between two young Hollywood hunks and Rogen, part of me can’t get past the logic: why wasn’t the whole neighborhood troubled by this?

Neighbors does attempt to explain this situation by showing the fraternity guys bribing the old ladies around the block but that just doesn’t justify the unlimited amount of parties the boys threw throughout the movie. One of which was the Robert DeNiro’s character party – coolest thing ever! Dave Franco’s impression of DeNiro from Meet the Parents was spot on and it was one of the highlights of the movie for me, in addition to the rant Efron and Franco had after they had a fallout over a girl. There was so much tension between them during that scene that I almost expected Franco to kiss Efron in the end and I was sad that he didn’t, what a waste of gay potential.

neighbors2

To be completely honest, I think Franco stood out more to me than Efron, I mean, he looks as good or even better and he’s a pretty good actor. Though I haven’t necessarily loved the movies his been in, I have never thought to say anything bad about him in particular so I’m excited to see him soon in 22 Jump Street! And when we’re already on the subject of “not saying bad things”, can we all just agree on never hating on Seth Rogen? That guy is simply adorable, no matter what he does or how he does it, no matter how the movie turns out, Rogen just shines and I love him!

But loving the actors behind the characters should not be a reason to love the movie itself. While Neighbors does make you laugh and sometimes succeeds effortlessly (the airbag scene, the I wasn’t a sleep one-liner), I wouldn’t necessarily say it is the best comedy this summer. No, there is going to be a better one and I have a feeling it’s going to be Let’s Be Cops, which for me has a more appealing plot and well, Jake Johnson’s in it so, my argument is valid. That being said, the number one reason Neighbors most likely did not work for me was the lack of shared laughter.

The thing is, most comedies thrive on the fact that people get to sit in a theater and laugh together. To have the shared laughter of a hundred (or more) people just enjoying the movie is something special. I watched Neighbors with my best friend with just 4 more people sitting in the theater and none of them laughed at once (minus the guy who LOVED the I wasn’t a sleep one-liner way too much) – and it felt sad. I’m not saying this might be the reason of my neutral feelings towards Neighbors but I’m putting it on the table as a possibility. Laughter is contagious, so if nobody’s laughing, it’s harder for you to laugh and if everybody’s peeing their pants because it’s so funny, you might enjoy the movie a lot more compared to watching it alone at home.

In other words, Neighbors works on many levels as an entertaining comedy and there isn’t an actual reason why it shouldn’t be funny and hilarious. My rating is simply a matter of personal preferences mixed in with the rather underwhelming viewing experience and it might be totally different for everybody else. Besides, if not for the laughs, watch Neighbors for Rogen and Franco – they are worth it.

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14 thoughts on “Neighbors (2014)”

  1. Damn, I want to see this one! I have my doubts about “the cutest baby ever” (kids are evil) and it’s heartwrenching to hear about wasted gay potential (I laughed reading that but also cried a bit), but otherwise, this sounds like This is the End and the likes, so I’m pretty sure I’ll have a good time with this film. Thanks for the awesome review, Mettel!

    1. I think This is The End was better.. maybe it was because I saw it in a theater filled with people and in Ireland so.. entertainment was much needed at that time.. Oh, now I’m sad.. I miss Ireland….

  2. I think you some up the modern comedy wonderfully. The raunchy comedy and bathroom humor seems to be all we get today. We have two more coming in the next few weeks. I swear I’m sick of the lack of comedic originality.

    1. My comedy post last year I think was about the downfall of comedies.. this is getting a bit better, I mean.. there were some really worse moments for some years. Let’s Be Cops will hopefully be awesome, I’m crossing my fingers for it.

  3. Loving the Rogen praise here – he really is adorable and he always plays such friendly, ordinary, nice guys. He’s someone who you want to hang out with. I loved Rose Byrne, I thought she was a standout – her timing was perfect. Franco annoys me a bit, like all Francos do, but he can be really funny – I liked him more in 21JS than here.

    1. For me, Rogen was amazing in Knocked Up because he made me actually like Heighl which is a pretty difficult thing to do.. only other man capable of that was Jeffrey Dean Morgan on Grey’s Anatomy. Byrne’s character was refreshing, not the typical wife which is good. I like Francos.. I don’t know, I even like the older Franco’s weird artsy stuff.

      1. I’m gonna finish my review soon, I do mention Byrne playing such a great character – I really liked how she didn’t pretend like she just wants to be responsible and longed for wild days in her past. Rogen was so much fun in Knocked Up but I never like Heigl, she just seems so…stuck up 🙂

  4. I liked this… possibly because I have actually been the frat boy neighbour… although not in a frat and a girl obviously. And the husband and wife dynamic reminded me a lot of me and my husband… even though he wouldn’t see it with me.

  5. I laughed my rump off silly during this. But I also enjoyed that there was a message to be found here, and also that it wasn’t tacked-on a simple bit. Good review Ray.

    1. It did have some thoughtful moments but I don’t know.. I think the fact that nobody was laughing in the theater because it was almost empty, robbed me of its enjoyment a bit.

  6. I still haven’t seen this (though I still might at some point – it is Seth Rogen after all, and he is a funny guy), but I agree with laughter being a shared experience. It’s much better watching comedies when everyone’s laughing, rather than seeing a funny movie and no one’s breathing a word. It does add to the whole experience.

    1. It does!! I saw This Is The End last summer with a packed cinema and it was amazing! This doesn’t seem that much worse from it to be honest and yet, it was less memorable.

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