Claremore Daily Progress

Community News

May 14, 2014

Bad ‘Neighbors’ make good comedy


Although one might expect an R-rated comedy directed by the man who helmed “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,”  and starring Seth Rogan and Zac Efron to be chaotic and padded — like Seth Rogan’s abs — “Neighbors”  actually turns out to be tight, lean, and eminently watchable.
Like Zac Efron’s abs.
“Neighbors” is often uproariously funny, but focused and perceptive at the same time. Who’d have ever thought a Seth Rogan movie could be all of those things at the same time?
Rogen and the suddenly versatile Rose Byrne play Mac and Kelly Radner, new parents who are working through the conflicted emotions of loving their adorable baby girl while missing their old, fun pre-baby lives.
After a few “meh” gags along the usual lines —the couple wants to go to a late-night party but fall asleep instead, for example — we get to the crux of the movie, as a fraternity moves in to the house next door. 
Under the guidance — and that’s using “guidance” in the loosest sense — of Teddy (Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco, younger brother of James Franco), the frat behaves exactly the way Mac and Kelly were afraid they would: with raucous nightly parties, the noise from which, for some reason, only bothers the Radners.
The new situation only intensifies Mac and Kelly’s insecurity about becoming grown-ups. 
They want to be cool, but more than that, they want to be cool in the eyes of the hot college kids now living next door. With a joint as a peace offering, the couple gets on the frat’s good side and they all promise to be considerate neighbors.
Obviously, this doesn’t work out, and war is declared, and here comes the movie’s saving grace. 
Where the usual formula would be to pit Mac against Teddy with Kelly staying on the sidelines sighing and rolling her eyes, the film smartly makes Kelly an equal partner. 

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