8 jul. 2014

My Review: Neighbors (5/10)

"Do you think maybe we've gone too far? I'm a child of divorce and I sympathize with them."

I don't think director Nicholas Stoller nor screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien went too far with the comedy in Neighbors considering it felt like a rehash of hundreds of raunchy comedies we've seen before. I was expecting a much funnier film considering Neighbors has a talented cast and it was warmly received by critics and audiences alike. Unfortunately, I laughed very little and was disappointed with how un-engaging the story and characters were. Seth Rogen is a hilarious guy, but there have been some rare occasions were I really didn't find him all that funny, and that was the case with Neighbors. Surprisingly I did enjoy Zac Efron and Rose Byrne's performances. They had the funniest scenes in the movie, but I just felt those scenes were too far spread out and that as a cohesive whole the film failed. I enjoyed Nick Stoller's previous comedies although I think his best one was his feature debut, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. With Neighbors, Stoller is taking a step down and giving us a comedy with no emotional attachment or interesting characters. Neighbors has plenty of obscene and vulgar humor, but I just didn't find it funny.

Neighbors centers on a couple who have just moved to a quiet neighborhood with their young baby girl. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are enjoying their married life and trying to adapt to grown up life now that they have a child. Things take an unexpected turn when frat brothers move in to the house next door. Teddy (Zac Efron) is the president of the fraternity and his right hand man is Pete (Dave Franco). At first Mac and Kelly warmly welcome the frat brothers trying to act as the friendly and cool young couple. They even accept an invitation to party with them, but after several nights of heavy partying and loud music, Mac and Kelly can't take it anymore. They try to politely ask for the guys to turn the volume down, and when their request is ignored they call the police. Feeling betrayed for being rated on, the frat brothers declare war on the young couple and pretty soon one cruel act is responded by another as they go back and forth trying to outdo one another. 

The comedy didn't really work for me although I have to acknowledge some scenes that I found hilarious. My favorite scene was the one in which the frat brothers were having a Robert de Niro themed party, quoting some of his famous lines ("You talking to me?" "You've broken the circle of trust") from his movies. The closing scene at Abercrombie and Fitch was also hilarious, although I heard it was unscripted. There are few loose scenes like these that save the film, but as a whole I just found it boring and uninspiring. Rose Byrne is the real star of this film and she does steal every scene she's in, but it just wasn't enough for me. 

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