Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Ike Barinholtz, Dave Franco, Carla Gallo
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Written By: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 36 min
Neighbors is strange in that it’s a wild R rated comedy, yet manages to deliver an interesting message on those stages in life as we transition from our time at college to the day to day adult pursuits like careers and starting a family.
On one side we have new parents Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne), and on the other a fraternity led by Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron). Each on either side of this transition with the couple missing the glory days, and the young student who still thinks life is one endless party.
Both have something to learn, and I found it interesting and somewhat commendable that this R rated comedy actually gave its character’s story arcs. What unfortunately didn’t work for me so much was the humor.
On the whole, I’d say the writing was pretty sharp, and there are some genuinely funny moments in Neighbors. What didn’t work for me, and it actually just made me feel uncomfortable, was Mac and Kelly Radner’s incessant need to act cool in front of their neighbors. Who does that? I’m in my forties now and don’t immediately try to act to a young persons social level when I meet one. I don’t try to ‘act cool’ – what ever that is anyway! It’s just weird, and not just indicative of the characters in this movie, it’s a common occurrence in Hollywood writing, and it should stop! Note to writers – adults don’t care if kids think we’re cool, because we know deep down they don’t know S#@! about the real world!
This can get loud, flashy and insane. It goes to extremes that just wouldn’t fly in the real world – but hey, it’s a movie and it certainly earns its R rating. On the surface it might seem like another stupid drug and alcohol fueled college movie, but it does have a deeper point that’s worth exploring.
There are some sections of this that are really well shot, so a matinée showing is recommended. At home a loud sound system and HD viewing will bring out the best in this movie.
I liked the story in this movie, and that it sends an important message to young people – if you shirk your responsibilities, life will get harder – and does so without being preachy.