I was treated to an early screening of the new comedy Neighbors. I’m a huge fan of Seth Rogen and this style of comedy, echoing back to films like Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Could Rogen do it again?
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star as a couple who recently had their first child and bought their first home. Things seem nice and calm until a fraternity moves in next door. Can a young married couple coexist with a fraternity seeking to invent the next big innovation in partying? Zac Efron and Dave Franco star as the President and Vice President of the Delta Psi Beta fraternity, along with Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jerrod Carmichael as the two most memorable members of the group.
The movie is directed by Nicholas Stoller, famous for Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek.
I didn’t realize this movie was directed by Nicholas Stoller until now but it makes perfect sense, as this seemed like a spiritual successor to Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Some really subtle humor mixed with “I can’t believe they just did that!” over the top antics. Rogen nails it, as he always does, but it’s really Rose Byrne that steals the show. Efron and Franco are great, though Franco surprisingly gets much more depth and more to do than the one-note Efron. And it was nice to see Mintz-Plasse again, along with the superstar-in-the-making Jerrod Carmichael.
The pacing is incredible, easing slowly into a roller coaster ride of comedy. Each party and each antic ups the ante until we get a hilarious climax which includes a memorable fight scene that has to be seen to be believed.
Some will say that the humor goes to an unnecessary place in some regards, and I can see that perspective, but I thought it walked a nice balance of trying to appease audiences that wanted both fraternity jokes and parenthood jokes, similar to how Knocked Up balanced parenthood and stoner humor.
I enjoyed nearly every moment of this film. It won’t win any awards but for what it’s meant to be… it does it well.
What doesn’t work?
Some jokes tend to go a little far and will alienate some more conservative audiences but I don’t know if those folks are really the target demographic.
Neighbors is going to be the highlight comedy of this upcoming summer. It’ll please most audiences with a surprising amount of subtle humor and crazy antics, mixed with some nice deep moments that are unexpected but appreciated. Rose Byrne steals the show and Dave Franco shows more depth than we’ve really seen from him. When this film hits theaters May 9th, this is an obvious choice for you.