Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout.
Starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jerrod Carmichael, Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Roberts, Hannibal Buress, Halston Sage, Ali Cobrin, Jake Johnson.
Written by Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O'Brien.
Directed by Nicholas Stoller.
Maturity sure doesn’t look as gratifying as it used to. Movies of late (especially comedies) point that out quite often, with glamorous depictions of youthful bacchanalia, complete with the lack of real-life consequences for the party crowd - to the banality of adulthood, complete with the “kids sure do poop a lot” interpretations of parenthood. Neighbors is the latest comedy to address the disparity between the pleasures of youth and the responsibility of aging, albeit with a lot - and I do mean a LOT – of R-rated nonsense.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star as Mac and Kelly Radner, a young couple with an adorable baby girl named Stella (played by twins Elise and Zoey Vargas). The Radners are pleased to have just moved into a nice home in the suburbs, but their peaceful existence is threatened when a fraternity buys the house next door. Intending to keep the peace (and not to appear “square”), Mac and Kelly try to prove they can still party like they did in college, while maintaining their serene neighborhood by befriending the Delta Psi president Teddy (Zac Efron) and his VP Pete (Dave Franco). The truce works until the Deltas can’t keep it down, and tensions flare after the Radners call in the cops.
Determined to win, the Radners and the frat engage in a prank war to see who blinks. The hijinks escalate until a huge year-end party where the stakes are high – and the payoffs are even higher.
Neighbors is very often funny, and I have to admit I felt bad about laughing at some of the gags (which are truly raunchy). Even with the humor, Neighbors is ridden with a confusing (if not, improbable) story that seems like a weak setup to most of those gags. I’m also tired of the single-note humor of Rogen, who delivers his trademark “stream of consciousness” monologues in Neighbors, complete with all kinds of obscenities and, of course, yet another tribute to the virtues of marijuana. Rose Byrne holds her own while starring opposite Rogen, but I fail to see the chemistry that would lead her character to be attracted to Mac. Zac Efron, while leaning on his looks and charm also shows some promise as a comic actor.
Again, Neighbors is rated R , and perhaps not a good example of cinematic maturity. So, if you’re a parent who thinks Neighbors will help you hang on to your youth for one more night, be sure and get a sitter.