Neighbors – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

NeighborsNeighbors – 3.5/5 – Comedies are a dime a dozen. When it comes to these kinds of films, the intent (no matter plot, characters or direction) is to make you laugh.  There is nothing more important to a comedy then that fact.  This film is no exception.  With some minor flaws, Neighbors will make you laugh and feel good till the credits roll.

Premise: It’s all seems good for the Radner’s; new home, new baby, quiet neighborhood.  All changes when a Fraternity moves next door.  With a clash of epic proportions, hilarity ensues.  With a fight between neighbors reaching its limits, one must realize, is it worth to party till the end?

In this film, you basically have two separate groups in the cast.  You have the married couple in one house, and the Frat brothers in the other.  With the married couples you have:

Seth Rogan as Mac Radner

Rose Byrne as Kelly Radner

These two do a swell job in creating a married couple with a child.  Seth Rogan gives off his typical shtick, but it works well regardless of his repetitive nature.   Rose Byrne, known for her dramatic roles, steps from her ‘comfort’ zone and provides a whimsical, over-the-top but awesome wife.  Here comedic timing helps compliment Rogan’s aloofness, helping creating a bond that is believable; you see them as a real married couple.  On a side note, the baby is another funny part of the film.   When it comes to the Frat brothers you have many of them living in the house.  Out of the boys, the following three are the stand outs:

Zac Efron as Teddy Sanders

Dave Franco as Pete

Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Scoonie

These three (collectively) helps provide a unique but funny look at the workings of a Fraternity.  Each of the three actors create standout characters, one that are authentic to the nature of the ‘Frat boy’ role.  Because of this, you believe them to be just creations in a film, but real college friends.  Zac Efron stands out the most from this group.  He provides an ‘unlikely’ likable antagonist to Seth Rogan’s character.  This glazing of the term is obvious (when you see the film), but it helps provided depth for a traditional ‘jock’ character, helping pull you in and understand his ‘purpose’.   The rest of the cast are general typecast for this kind of comedy film.  They are basically a ‘colorful background’ for the situational humor.

The film goes along the traditional ‘prank style’ comedy direction.  This track is as followed:

Prologue of both parties

Party conflict

Pranks montage (back and forth)

Second stage of pranks (with moral decision)

Ultimate clash/consequential epilogue

That film has this linearity feel, but does some more stuff to standout.  That flavor comes in the form of great character development, chemistry and timing; especially between the married couple (Rogan and Byrnes) and the main 2 Frat Brothers (Efron and Franco).  From the beginning, we get introduced to the ‘happy’ life of Radner’s. Nothing seems to be wrong where they live, until a Fraternity moves next door.  A few noisy nights leads to the ‘start-up’ conflict, and the ‘funny’ pranks begin to occur.  The film could have just been dull through this setup, but it doesn’t.  Even for the linear development, the comedic threads are never predictable.  Everything is based around subtlety and situations that parallels the timing of the actors/actresses.  Because of these two high points, the film does a great job in providing great humor to the obviousness.  Through all the scenes, the movie moves at a very fast pace.  The film stays strong through its character’s development; as it continues to parallel the great humor.  Once the film get’s through all the smaller pranks and moves to the second stage of ‘getting even’, the movie start’s to introduce some more moral themes.  In those themes, there are some cliché choices for both the Frats and married couple that brings division, but it has a very minimal impact on the enjoyment of the film.  You pretty much can say these are just ‘minor’ flaws.  Once the film get’s to the third act and the ultimate climax, the over-the-top mentality comes to the forefront.  With that, the film could have fallen off the cliff.  IT never does, as the direction stays steadfast, and the humor stays strong within its timing.  Once the film comes to a close, there is a ‘feel good’ closure to all the characters, and you realize there is real meaning in a film that probably could have been a throw away comedy.

The visuals of the film aren’t one to scream amazing over.  You have a very ‘traditional’ look at a suburban neighborhood; as well as a ‘Frat House’.  All aspects of the visuals don’t add much to the comedy, but it is good to have a grounded aspect when a lot of the times you have to suspend disbelief.  The score does a good job in amplifying the tone of the film.  It is really great when the timing of the music parallels the comedy, helping add a jolt of laughter to the experience.

Neighbors is a film that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does standout as a hilarious comedy.  It has whimsical characters and real funny situations.  All the actors/actress do a great job, with a few (Zac Efron and Rose Byrnes) showing they can step out of their comfort zone.  If you’re looking for a funny, entertaining film to watch this weekend, this is one for you.  It is a great time at the theaters, and a good time with a group of friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *