Neighbors, another raunchy comedy from comedian Seth Rogan
This Review is written by Tawfik Zone Contributor Heather Nichols
Normally I put my rating for a film at the end, but this time I’m switching it up and starting off by saying Seth Rogan’s latest comedy gets a 3 out of 5 stars. Now I want to clarify why since in my Amazing Spiderman review despite not being a huge overall fan of the film I still gave it a 3. I take into consideration story structure, acting, visuals or mise-en-scene, but also how it stands within its genre. In hindsight that makes it hard to rate on this system since with Spiderman the visuals and acting were excellent but the rest of the film left quite a bit to be desired. Hopefully we’ll finally get the Spiderman film that will meet all of my expectations as a diehard fan before Amazing Spiderman 15 at the rate they’re going…
But I digress. Let’s talk about Neighbors.
I understand that Rogan’s raucous brand of comedy isn’t exactly up everyone’s alley, but for those of us who are in their 20s, this film is directly aimed at us and I think most people who see it will ultimately like it. Compared to This is the End and with the hype leading up to Neighbors’ release, I was honestly expecting more, not to say the final product isn’t good, it’s just not his greatest.
The plot follows a young, recently married couple with their 6 month old baby and their struggle as they teeter between their party phase in life and being mature responsible adults. This is in no way helped when a fraternity moves in next door and throws excessive parties every night. The acting is fine, the jokes are funny. Where I got lost was in the whole suspension of disbelief aspect. How any of the frat kids are maintaining passing GPAs and how the married couple can leave their baby unattended for such lengthy periods of time is a bit baffling. Despite some holes in the plot, the jokes are entertaining and I am in agreeance with most critics that Zac Efron really proves himself as an actor as the lead of the fraternity.
When the film starts Rogan’s character, Mac Radner and his wife Kelly, played by Rose Byrne live in a quiet suburb; he works an office job and she seems to be a stay-at-home mom with the baby. Just because he is a dad does not mean that Rogan is putting down the pot. He is seen taking a break to smoke weed while at work and contemplating his responsibilities as a parent, complaining that he and his wife are not as intimate as they were pre-baby. The couple wants to go out and party with friends in a struggle to maintain their sense of youth.
This is where the suspension of disbelief is too much to ignore. I am not a parent so I’m not sure how true this feeling is but when asked to go to a rave the couple decides it’s a good idea to bring the baby with them but ultimately misses out on the party because they are too exhausted from trying to pack everything the baby needs. To be fair they do say it’s too late to call a sitter, but raves are generally loud, crowded and I doubt any bouncer at the door would let a baby inside. It’s the small things like that and the fact they leave their house for lengthy amounts of time to party next door while the baby is unsupervised that just make me question some of the morality of the film.
On the flip side Zac Efron’s character, Teddy Sanders is vastly entertaining and he has some of the best scenes in the whole film. In fact, Efron practically steals the show from Rogan and makies you believe this is his film. Only a few years ago we met Efron as the innocent singing teeny bopper on the Disney channel. Now he is, as Mac Radner phrases it, “so good looking it’s like two gay guys created him in a laboratory.” He has shed that Disney innocence, which was still present when I saw him in Charlie St.Cloud (can’t speak on any other roles he’d had in recent years). Perhaps his best scene is where he comes up with the idea to create sex toys out of the fraternity member’s umm, members, to raise money to fix their house. He plays it straight which just makes it hilarious. I have a feeling this role will really open some doors for Efron, maybe they’ll reboot Spiderman a third time and put the suit on him. I promise I’ll get over Spiderman, eventually…
If you’re looking for a comedy this week I’d recommend Neighbors. It’s a frat house comedy so if stoner humor and penis jokes aren’t up your alley you might want to wait another month or so because McFarland’s A Million ways to Die in the West will probably be a similar type of humor with some added slapstick and big name actors. Coming up, I’ll be taking a look at the new envisioning of the most iconic kaiju, Godzilla. See you then.