I can't believe that I have been out of college for almost two years now. Even though I had to add a second semester to my senior year, essentially becoming a super-senior, I can't believe how fast it went. I used to think it was weird to consider myself an adult, but I don't believe that much anymore. The way I acted in college is not exactly how I live my life anymore. I am not a total shut-in either, I am 25, I am not old. Those pockets of mind-loss occur much further and in-between, which is not like they used to. But on a Friday night, after a long week at work, I find myself happy just to sit on the couch and not do anything. It surprises me how so many of my friends agree, and when we do go out, it is equally surprising how late we don't stay out.
"Neighbors" a dirty, raunchy comedy. It will most likely be hailed as a new comedic classic, instantly quotable and instantly recognizable. It is a raunchy comedy that keeps its mind dirty throughout the entire running time. It isn't a movie that all of sudden grows a conscience. It is not a movie that all of sudden turns into a life lesson at the drop of a dime. Too many times in the history of comedies, the film will drop everything and add a thought-provoking message right at the third act. "Neighbors" doesn't do this, but what surprised me was that a thoughtful message was laced within the movie throughout.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are college sweethearts, a young couple who has recently had their first child. They are slowly but surely adjusting to the life of being a parent, which is turning out to be harder than they thought. To complicate things further, the Delta Psi Beta fraternity moves into the house next door. Mac and Kelly are still young, and they are striving to be the cool parents. They go next door and meet Teddy (Zak Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) who are the President and Vice President of the fraternity. They come to an agreement about keeping the noise level down for Mac and Kelly's baby and try to treat each other with respect.
Obviously, that doesn't last very long. The trust bond between Mac and Kelly and the Delta Psi Beta destructs quickly, and a turf war of sorts is on the horizon. What begins as a harmless prank soon becomes something that could become fatal. Mac and Kelly work overtime to get the Delta's on probation and the Delta's try to get the couple and their baby to move elsewhere. Basically, that is the story, and had that been the entire movie, I would be pretty bored. In fact, for the first half-hour or so, I kind of felt board. I have seen several cat-and-mouse comedies in the past, and they all run on the same template. I wanted something more this time out, and for a moment, I thought I wouldn't get it.
Even though "Neighbors" is a gut-busting comedy and an impeccably dirty movie, "Neighbors" real thematic purpose is to study anxiety. Teddy is an individual who is obsessed with partying, so much so that he barely studies. There seems to be burden of what will happen once the school year is over and what will come next. In an odd way, Teddy parallels Mac and Kelly. Mac and Kelly are trying hard to move into parenthood, but it is no easy feat. Trying not to cross the line between living in the party and being responsible could not be harder. This theme hit me like a tons of bricks, because that was me not too long ago. I felt uneasy about going into the big world, but my outstanding support group made me forget that quick. There are some things that still get under my skin, but I feel I handle myself well. I was very taken aback by how relevant and how realistic the themes of "Neighbors" truly were.
This is the best Zak Efron movie you will ever see. Bar none. He seems completely unleashed by what has been written for him, and finally, it seems he has come-of-age. I think I will be more confident when someone hires Efron from now on and that is something I never thought I would think. It also helps that he has a perfect wing-man in the form of Dave Franco. Right away, I think I prefer Dave to his older brother. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne do incredible work as the couple. Rogen may be playing the same hyper character in every movie, but hey, he does it well. After a massive string of dramatic roles, I am continually amazed by just how funny Byrne is as a comic performer.
Keep an eye out for Ike Barinholtz, who plays a co-worker to Mac and becomes a co-conspirator against the fraternity. Keep an eye out for quick cameos by Andy Samberg, Jake Johnson, Lisa Kudrow, Adam DeVine and Blake Anderson. Enjoy the work by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jerrod Carmichael and Craig Roberts as the other frat boys. Most of all, get ready to laugh hard.
FINAL GRADE: B