Comedy is a very subjective thing and while many American comedic films can sometimes lack flavor with their sophomoric humor, Neighbors aims to rise above. It’s a story as old as Dennis The Menace, the bothered neighbor and the nuisance. The introduction to Delta Psi’s heritage (that’s the frat in this story) brings about a consistent punch of silent cameos (Andy Samberg, Jake Johnson, etc) that, alongside Teddy’s (Zac Efron) physique, make the film worth a watch. You’ll find several juvenile pranks, the obligatory dick joke/s, plenty of marijuana references and, well, everything you’d expect to see at a fraternity party. What you don’t expect is to watch the “adults” next door result to the same level of maturity truly emphasizing that old habits die-hard, especially when provoked.
Rose Byrne, getting to fully embrace her Australian upbringing, shines in her role as Kelly Radner – a new mother who struggles with responsibility and freedom. She’s sharp, she’s crafty and she’s funny. And while Seth Rogen & Zac Efron’s performance was nothing to write home about; they made a solid ‘good vs evil’ pairing.
Nicholas Stoller, who I thoroughly enjoy as a writer (Get Him To The Greek, The Muppets), steps out as Neighbors‘ director who clearly didn’t know when to cut. With too much time spent on the never-ending semi-improvised long takes. The running gag that never ends. The same joke retold, over and over and over… Well, you get the point.
So, while Judd Apatow or Will Ferrell could have easily spit out this film (probably with greater success), Neighbors aimed for a wider audience. And even though the wittier jokes, thankfully, kept sneaking in, there’s no rush to catch this one in the theater; Netflix, in six months, will do nicely.