2nd Review: Neighbors Is Good, Not Great

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Starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo and Lisa Kudrow.
Directed by Nicholas Stoller.

★★★

The first thing Seth Rogen must do in all Seth Rogen movies is establish that his character smokes marijuana. He seems to think that that is an interesting trait to display, like the movie writes itself after that.

“I think I’ll make a movie about a guy who smokes pot and then other stuff happens.”
“Cool. We’ll call it Pineapple Express, or Funny People, or This Is the End, or…”

So we meet new dad Mac Radner, and first chance he gets at work, he smokes some weed with his pal Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz). Now that we got that out of the way, the rest of the movie can proceed. Mac and his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) were party animals in their youth, but they’re trying the whole responsible-adult thing now that they have a baby. They’ve sunk all their money into their house which sits in a tranquil neighborhood.

But uh-oh, a frat house moves next door. Mac and Kelly try to be friends first, start off on the right foot, come across as the “cool” young parents next door, and frat president Teddy (Zac Efron) wants his neighbors to like them too. His main rule: if they get too loud, please come to him first; don’t call the cops. Mac breaks the rule. From there, the film escalates into tit-for-tat prank warfare.

I liked the characters and the potential of the plot structure. I wish it had been funnier. The best gag was the airbag prank, but anyone who’s seen the trailer already knows that’s coming. Rogen and Byrne have good chemistry together, and it’s nice to see the wife be as equally irresponsible and in on the mayhem. I also liked the relationship between Teddy and his best friend Pete. There’s a sadness about Teddy that creeps in, a guy whose end goal in life is to have a memorable college experience with no thought of what comes next.

Will it go down as a classic frat comedy? No, but it’s one of the better ones.

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Tags: Dave Franco Movie Review Neightbors Rose Byrne Seth Rogen Zac Efron

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