Thursday, May 15, 2014
While I do love Seth Rogen and the premise behind Neighbors, I just couldn't get excited about this film. The trailer is funny. The cast is great. Still... no excitement. Either way, when it comes to R-rated comedies, I'm a sucker of the grandest kind. If you haven't figured that out by now, then you probably haven't read many of my reviews. Honestly, I didn't expect much out of this one, in a positive or negative way. I just always knew I would watch it. After such a long review of Spider-Man, this review may fly by (for you, the reader)...
The most surprisingly awesome thing about Neighbors wasn't the humor but, instead, the clever nature of the plot, particularly the way that both groups of neighbors poked fun and got back at the other. The plot of this film was really well thought out, and, while there were ridiculous extremities, the heart of the film was built on the redeeming and destructive qualities of fraternities. Now, I'm not in a fraternity, so I can't speak to each and every aspect. Also, I do know that each fraternity is different. However, when you put a large number of guys in that sort of situation, there is no doubt that hilarity is destined to ensue. Kudos to the filmmakers for not stretching the storyline or going too far over the top. I really enjoyed the story, although Zac Efron's Teddy was a bit bipolar. If that character had been better, the film would have been perfect.
The success of this film was heavily built on the relationship and personality of young couple Mac and Kelly Radner, played wonderfully by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne. Because of the situation, I expected the couple to be a bit uptight, judging, and fairytale-esque. However, in the first ten minutes we see Seth Rogen's good-guy character smoking a joint at work, implying that he isn't as goodie-goodie as the trailer made him out to be. Soon after, it was evident that the couple was going through some kind of early-life crisis, which brought an entirely different element to the film. We were able to see the couple re-live their younger days, in an attempt to befriend/influence their younger neighbors, and it was just a whole lot of fun.
As I previously said, Zac Efron's Teddy was just a very confused character, and it really took away from the ultimate success of the film. In the beginning, Teddy had it all together and was the epitome of success, with a bright future ahead of him. I mean, most fraternity presidents aren't idiots! But, as the story went on, he became whatever the film needed him to be, whether that was smart, dumb, successful, or incompetent. Aside from that issue (it was a large, glaring one), the cast was great!
On top of the perfectly created "family next door," there were many great and hilarious performances in Neighbors. My favorite frat guy, by far, was Dave Franco's Pete, who was an absolutely perfect example of a true frat guy (opinion). Normally, I don't care for Franco, whose range is quite small, but he was great in this film. My final note of praise goes to Ike Barinholtz's Jimmy, who "snuck" his was into quite a few memorable moments. Looking back, the scenes in which Barinholtz was the focal point really were the most memorable of the entire film, and his character could have been an absolute disaster, considering he was fairly pointless.
Considering the current state of the R-rated comedy, I welcome Neighbors with open arms! There have been so, so many stupid comedies, over the past two years, which makes me a lot easier to please, at this point. Neighbors wasn't as good as This Is the End or 21 Jump Street, but it was much better than I expected, which is always quite a nice feeling. With many more exciting comedies still to come in 2014, I can only hope that everything else is as good as or better than Neighbors. If you want a good laugh, Neighbors is good bet. I give Neighbors 3.57 our of 5 stars.