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He Said, She Said Review Site


What She said:


Is it raunchy, disgusting, drug-laced, and borderline offensive?   Yes.  But is Neighbors pretty funny?  That’s also an affirmative.  While the film is somewhat disappointingly formulaic, it also delivers a good amount of laughs, and we’re treated to a surprisingly strong performance from Rose Byrne.  She proves herself funnier than I would have imagined, and, for me, that turns out to be the best part of this film.

Neighbors tells the story of Mac and Kelly Radner.  They’ve abandoned their partying ways in order to do the mature thing—get married, have a baby, and buy a cookie-cutter suburban home.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re still potheads, especially Mac, who regularly sneaks off with his work-friend Jimmy.  They’re jealous of their friends, who still lead remarkably irresponsible lives, but their adorable daughter keeps them grounded.  All seems well for Mac and Kelly until the house next door sells and the new neighbors arrive.  Much to their shock, the home is overrun by a college fraternity, and with these frats boys comes all the stereotypes of that lifestyle.  They’re noisy, arrogant, drunk, and destructive.  In their younger days, Mac and Kelly would have loved it, but with a baby to worry about their patience very quickly wears thin.  Before they know it, they’re in an all-out war with Teddy and Pete, the heads of the Delta Psi Beta fraternity, and they’ll stop at nothing to see the college kids disappear for good.

So often, my plot descriptions take 2-3 paragraphs of space, but Neighbors really is not that complicated.  In the same vein as a flick like Anchorman, it cannot possibly employ a deep or overly complex storyline, as its main focus is instead on cramming as many gags into the movie as possible.  Certainly, this is not a bad thing, as Neighbors knows its genre and how to be effective within it.  Depending on your maturity level, you may find all, some, or even none of the jokes in this movie funny.  For those who are above shock comedies, then don’t bother with this film.  You’re not going to like it, as we have quite a few jokes that revolve around genitalia, and even alcohol-laced breast milk.  I fell in that “in between” classification—I laughed pretty hard at some of the jokes while sitting stone faced through others.  I would just like to note that I’ve been told more generally that I look miserable while watching movies.  That is in no way a reflection of my internal emotions—as I have this amazing ability to be thoroughly enjoying a film while harboring a recognizable scowl on my face.


My facial expression during Neighbors probably hovered somewhere in between “catatonic” and “recently ingested dodgy sushi,” but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the movie.  I give it, and the actors, credit for making the most of what they had to work with.  Seth Rogan plays Mac, Rose Byrne is Kelly, Ike Barinholtz is the friend Jimmy, Carla Gallo plays Jimmy’s ex Paula, and on the Delta Psi side of things, Zac Efron plays president Teddy Sanders and Dave Franco is Vice President Pete Regazolli.  I think all of the actors did a really good job of embracing their roles.  As mentioned, Rose Byrne was particularly memorable.  Zac Efron is, well, topless a lot.  It’s a little bit creepy, as he’s definitely got some weird man-child thing going on.  And Dave Franco is quite funny, especially with his Robert De Niro impression, which is spot-on. 

It’s interesting to watch the creative and ridiculous ways each party tries to get back at the other one.  Some are rather brilliant and others pretty disgusting, but all take the viewer for a bit of a ride.  And that’s all that we can really come to expect from this film.  It’s a ride—from start to finish.  You’re on the crazy train, with scheduled stops in gross, funny, immature, and illegal.  What’s lacking in this film is the heart Judd Apatow so craftily injects in his comedies.  I would have liked a little more of that—al la The 40 Year Old Virgin.  But, even without, Neighbors is still entertaining enough for a “watch-it” endorsement. 

Thumbs mostly up.


What he said:


Mac and Kelly Radner are a typical married couple. They’ve got a newborn daughter, a dream house in a nice quiet neighborhood, and apparently only he has to work, which means he must be making some decent coin. Not a bad set up.

Well their storybook life is about to be turned upside down by a bunch of college kids. A fraternity has moved into the house next door. This would have been a nightmare for me when I was still in college, I can only imagine having to put up with it now that I’m a cranky old man whose physical age now matches his mental one. I can’t think of anything that is less appealing to me than living that close to a non-stop party, so I can understand Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly’s (Rose Byrne) fears.

In an attempt to nip any problems in the bud beforehand, Mac and Kelly head over to the house to extend an olive branch. They meet the frat, which is led by Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron). He’s the big man on campus. He’s chiseled like a Greek God, is dating a hot blonde, and his life is one big party. The couple ends up partying with the frat and they actually seem to hit it off – Teddy and Mac in particular. Teddy tells them that he’ll do his best do keep the noise down and they can call him any time they feel things are getting out of hand.


The very next night the frat throws an extremely loud party. Mac calls Teddy several times to no avail. The couple – as much as they hate to do it – feels backed into a corner, so they call the police. And thus begins the war between these very different neighbors.

I was excited for this movie for a few reasons. First, I thought the trailer looked very funny. Additionally, I had heard that some of the same people involved with This is the End – which I thought was ridiculously funny – were involved in the production of this movie. I had my eye on this one for a while.

About 20 minutes or so into the movie, I noticed I wasn’t laughing very much.  There were a few smirks and a couple of chuckles, but nothing gut-busting type of funny. That surprised me because the trailer was hilarious. There were a lot of moments like this throughout the movie. It was amusing, but not hilarious. There were also a few jokes that fell flat. It must be really hard to write comedy, because I’ve noticed a lot of comedies have moments where you can tell they’re trying to be funny, but it just isn’t resonating with you.

Fortunately, there were also some pretty big laughs scattered throughout the movie. They weren’t as frequent as I was hoping for, but they were there. This movie could have been better. It was not as hilarious as I had hoped for, but it was still generally funny.

The standout to me was Rose Byrne. Her delivery was freaking hilarious. I thought she was funny in Bridesmaids, so I wasn’t shocked she made me laugh, but she stole the show. Some of the stuff she said and the way it came out was just really funny. Seth Rogen can be a funny guy, but like a lot of goofy/raunchy comedians, sometimes his jokes are more hit than miss. He had some laughs in this movie, but I thought he was funnier in stuff like This is the End, Superbad, or The Green Hornet. Luckily for this movie, she was here to save the day.

Zac Efron wasn’t too bad either. He’s definitely not the kid from High School Musical anymore. I don’t have a problem viewing him as someone other than a child actor. But like Rogen, some of his jokes were so-so. Some of the Robert De Niro jokes with him and Dave Franco were pretty damn funny though, especially when they – along with the rest of the frat – started getting some of the quotes wrong.

Jerrod Carmichael (who?) was pretty funny at times. He played one of the frat guys and had some decent lines. He was better than Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse, who could have been used better.

So while as funny as I was expecting, this was still had enough laughs to keep me mostly entertained.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on May 22, 2014.