Nicholas Stoller’s new comedy has officially kicked off the summer. Spider Man left a bad taste in my mouth and doesn’t count. Yuck. Luckily, Neighbors is a summer comedy with enough jokes and stupidity that you *might* feel like going to a frat. Might.
Neighbors knows what you want. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play a married couple who have just had a baby. They’re at the stage in life where they’re no longer considered “young” but hey still wanna be. Immediately a fraternity moves in next door. Can ya see where this is going? The President of the frat is played by disney star Zac Efron! He’s a cool dude now! Trust me.
Efron plays up the raunchy comedy well and his delivery of jokes is worthy of college films hall of fame consideration. The guy has charisma. His sidekick is played by Dave Franco (21 Jump Street). The comedy genes are strong in the Franco pool.
Efron/Franco have Animal House brotherhood chemistry and play the comedy like ping pong. Neighbors pokes fun at frat life but also does it earnest justice. Both young and old will find the humor here satisfying. The critique of macho frat life culture is actually pretty subtle and clever.
The film doesn’t drag us into the usual comedy mumbo jumbo in which we learn about characters lives first. Neighbors plunges right into the frat filth. Smart move to not build up drama or pull us into characters lives to much. This film does not need that. That’s the downfall of comedies. Most have got too much fat on them and the tacked on dramatic moments weigh it down.
Neighbors is a lean and consistent comedy coming in at about 90 minutes. Every scene will at least give you a chuckle and there’s a few gut buster jokes throughout. Particularly a few moments at this party scene below are hilarious.
It knows exactly what it is. It’s a frat house vs. a married couple and it delivers on that premise. Comedy is extremely subjective. The sophomoric humor here will not be for everyone. If you’re a fan of Superbad’s humor then you’ll have a good time with Neighbors. There is however a clear construction of jokes in comedy and it’s an art. Some jokes are more impressive than others, but some “lesser” ones are executed better. Neighbors has a ton of “lesser” raunchy and sophomoric jokes but it pulls them off.
The balance of dirty humor and physical humor keeps things fresh and builds dynamic comedy within the piece. The premise is fine enough and allows the film to be held together. It’s stitched together with a ton of funny sketch comedy and is well paced. The characters are just there to make us laugh. I don’t even remember their names, but they made me laugh so I’m not gonna complain. Although that’s what separates this from a film like Animal House, which delivers a great story, characters, and jokes. Neighbors is a movie that’s committed to sophomoric humor to keep you entertained throughout its run time. Don’t expect it to be at the level of This Is the End or 21 Jump Street and you’ll have a good time.
Neighbors finds humor in the themes of growing up explored between the married couple and the senior frat boys,and it’s small attempts to move deeper than that are just there to go through the motions. It’s a film that lives by it’s performances. Rose Byrne is the MVP. Neighbors is a lean summer comedy that doesn’t present anything new, but it shoots out jokes like a machine gun.