"Neighbors" Review: Craig's First Take

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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.
2.5

Zac Efron and Seth Rogen go at each other like Russia and Ukraine in the new comedy “Neighbors” and surprisingly enough this conflict yields only a tad more laughs. You gotta hand the filmmakers credit for at least giving us a unique pairing but otherwise this movie is a lazy, crude for the sake of crude bore that does nothing for either actor.

Rogen plays a new dad who along with his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) is slowly learning that parenthood means that being kinky and wild is over. When the Delta Psi fraternity moves in next door, the couple first try to be cool while influencing them to keep the noise to a minimum, they even hang with the frat and their “looks like something a gay guy made in a laboratory” President, Teddy (Efron). But when the noise persists and the cops get called, a war emerges between the two houses.

The frat responds with childish pranks like hedging a bush into a crude image and stealing the airbags from Rogen’s car, the later of which would seriously hurt anyone but writers Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien let the movie exist in some cartoon world. Either way, it’s not that funny and neither is a scene where the couple’s baby finds a used condom and the proceeding scene where a doctor makes lite of it. “Neighbors’ is also another movie that’s afraid to venture too far away from penis jokes; plaster penises, guys grabbing penises during a fight, erections, dildo duels, urinating duels, plus i’m not even counting the many references to the penis. Director Nicholas Stoller gets one thing right and that’s the booze, girl, and bong-fueled college parties. He makes you wish you were there, and unfortunately, this movie’s jokes make you wish you were somewhere else too.

To be fair it’s not a complete waste. Rogen and Byrne are kinda fun as a couple trying to prove to themselves their not so boring after all, Efron and Dave Franco (brother of James) share some of the best scenes together as frat brothers, and comedians Ike Barinholtz and Hannibal Buress get dopey comedic roles, the former doing a way better job though. But it’s not enough to take away from how tiresome, even at an hour and a half, this all becomes.

But say one more thing for “Neighbors”, it lets you know right from the start that you shouldn’t accept much from it. In that regard, the movie is a success.