By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0″: It’s only May, but #NeighborsMovie is so far the best comedy of 2014 due to some very funny scenes and great cast chemistry.
The Gist: A married couple and their newborn baby go berserk when a party, boozing, weed smoking college fraternity moves right next door to their tranquil, dream home.
What Works: Almost everything works in this film. There’s not much you can really hate on. The comedy is laugh-worthy and the cast are very likeable. Six-pack Zac [Efron] was the big question coming into the film. Could he be funny next to Seth Rogen? He was and with his innocent, boy-next-door persona, he added an unpredictable element to the humor. He is slowly but surely becoming the next Channing Tatum before our very eyes. A must mention is how well Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play off each other as the married couple. They’re not your typical parents on the surface. They’re cool, are with it, and don’t shy away from smoking weed, girl on girl making out and partying ’til 6 in the morn’, baby or no baby. But deep down inside they’ve changed and responsibility is a harsh reality they ultimately embrace. Overall, Neighbors isn’t just funny, it has a human sensibility people can identify with too.
What Doesn’t Work: As with most comedies, not every joke is sternum-cracking funny. Neighbors is not the exception. Also, storylines about fraternities is not new (Animal House, Old School, Revenge of the Nerds) which makes the film familiar to a certain extent. My wish is that Hollywood studios can deliver original premises that challenge the status quo much like ‘The Hangover‘ did.
Pay or Nay?: Pay. If you are looking for hard laughs, you will find that here. The humor is crude, sexual, at times gross and shocking. But it’s not just formulaically raunchy, it is really the subtext to the principal point of the film – maturity. Most comedies don’t have any allegoric elements, but Neighbors strives to be just more than rudimentary jokes, it manages to say something without making it so prominently obvious.
Rated: R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout.
Release Date: May 9, 2014
Screenplay: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O'Brien
Director(s): Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Lisa Kudrow
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Film Genre: Comedy