Four Reasons Why "Neighbors" Will Be a Stand-out Comedy of 2014

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An innocent couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
May 5th, 2014

The 2014 comedy "Neighbors," being released in theaters May 9, follows a young couple who has just had a baby girl when a wild fraternity moves in next door. The two at first try to play nice with the charming fraternity president and his gang, but when the parties become too loud, they call the police. This triggers an all-out war between the neighbors, as both sides dish out increasingly elaborate gags. Although R-rated comedies can be a big risk for filmmakers, there are four major reasons why "Neighbors" is sure to be one of the stand-out comedy films of the year.

Nearly Every Joke Hits the Mark

There is a fine line between adult humor and unnecessarily raunchy attempts at jokes. Although "Neighbors" straddles the line from time to time, most of the jokes and gags are spot-on. From the couple's desperate attempts to be seen as cool to the hilarious pranks concocted on both sides of the fence, this movie churns out laughs around every corner. There is plenty of well-placed slapstick humor, but there is also a generous amount of witty dialog and situational humor. The colorful characters written into the story by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien never seem to disappoint as they find themselves entangled in increasingly awkward and funny situations.

The Actors Leave Nothing to Be Desired

Some comedies suffer because actors are too over-the-top, unbelievable or stiff in their roles, but Rogen, Efron and the rest of the cast give stand-out performances in "Neighbors." Seth Rogen, an actor and comedy writer best known for films like "Knocked Up" and "Pineapple Express," is completely hilarious and likable as the new father, Mac Radner. Rose Byrne is excellent as always, beautifully portraying the cool, mischievous Kelly Radner. Former teen heartthrob Zac Efron, who jump-started his career with Disney's "High School Musical," is astounding as Teddy, the cocky and fun-loving fraternity president. Dave Franco plays alongside Efron as the fraternity's brainy vice president, dishing out some hilarious gags of his own. Other actors who give smaller but still notable performances include Ike Barinholtz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Lisa Kudrow. Although Rogen and Efron steal the show, each actor brings a unique sense of humor into the film to create a fun-filled, colorful comedy.

A Great Director Is Behind the Wheel

A well-written script and notable actors are important elements of a good comedy, but only a worthy director could put "Neighbors" together in a way that keeps viewers engaged and consistently entertained. Director Nicholas Stoller is best known for films like "Yes Man," "Get Him to the Greek," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "The Five-Year Engagement." With "Neighbors," Stoller introduces the same outrageous sense of humor that brought success to his other films. He keeps the plot tight and well-paced while piling the jokes high, and the result is a thoroughly engrossing film that is genuinely funny. With Stoller behind the wheel, "Neighbors" is guaranteed to be a stand-out comedy that moviegoers will not want to miss.

The Film Is as Outlandish as It Is Relatable

Too many comedies are sloppy in their jokes and character portrayals. Their effort to make fun drowns out any chance of the audience actually connecting with the characters and situations. Movies such as "Meet the Parents" are successful because they rank high on the relatability scale, planting themselves in the minds of viewers while drawing plenty of knowing laughs from the audience. "Neighbors" easily falls into this category with its familiar story of two people who love being parents but are not quite ready to grow up and become uncool. At the same time, the movie does not take the easy way out by portraying the frat boys as mindless, sex-obsessed students. Each major character is fleshed out in a way that feels genuine and ultimately believable. The movie largely follows the young family through most of the film, but it also includes some scenes from Teddy and the frat boys' point of view, adding more depth to their characters.

"Neighbors" features an all-star cast of actors and comedians, and the relatable, well-paced plot ensures that this film will have widespread audience appeal. This R-rated comedy does feature plenty of adult humor, so it is not recommended for audiences who do not appreciate sex jokes, cussing and overall raunchy behavior. The movie has already been prescreened to some critics and select audiences, and the reaction has been largely positive. Moviegoers who plan to see "Neighbors" in theaters can expect a stand-out comedy with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.