Neighbors (3 1/2 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Written by: Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien
Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron
Over the years working at a variety of colleges I have seen Greek Life, in a variety of different formats, but I never experienced anything like from Neighbors. That's what makes this film hilarious. There are going to be people offended by the reputation this gives a community of students, but guess what, you have to simply ignore that, and let yourself laugh, and laugh, and laugh even more.
Two former party animals Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are married, with a baby living in the suburbs. Their current single friends are living the party lifestyle, meanwhile they are doing the boring day to day routines. Mac goes to what looks like a boring job, while Kelly stays at home with the most adorable baby ever, but is bored with simple daily routine of being a housewife. There is a house for sale next door, and the two are excited to meet their new neighbors, except when they end up to be a wild fraternity, led by president, Teddy (Zac Efron).
Teddy and his fraternity brothers, two of whom are played by Dave Franco, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse lead the charge throwing wild parties night after. While its all fun and games in the beginning, the fraternity and new parents start to battle it out trying to break the other down, and win.
Director Nicholas Stoller has made a name for himself with comedic films, although most of his movies have flown under the radar. Stoller's first film Forgetting Sarah Marshall has been his best; he has done a great job working with the Judd Apatow crew over the years. After Marshall Stoller's next project was Get Him to the Greek, and the The Five-Year Engagement. Beyond Engagement Stoller has tapped into this quirky modern sense of humor. Neighbors is his best work, and the script is hilarious.
This is the first major film screenplay for the team of Andrew J. Cohen, and Brendan O'Brien, and boy did they knock this one out of the park on their first try. While the film has a great subtle messages about missing your youth, and fearing what adulthood can turn you into, the film's non-stop jokes are the selling point. Neighbors never tries too hard to wrap life in tiny bow, and make things convenient. Many of the best jokes are in the preview, my only pet peeve, but there are other great moments, and some great cameos, pay attention to the lineage of the fraternity of the years, and the past members. Not only are there great cameos, but the three main leads are, fantastic.
Seth Rogen plays a typical Seth Rogen type, but if isn't broke, don't fix it. Rogen can stick the landing every time with his jokes. Rose Byrne who plays his wife Kelly has always been a terrific actress, from her early dramatic work in the television series, Damages. Byrne showed off her comedic chops as the straight woman in Bridesmaids, but film was further proof that Byrne can do it all, and she was amazing. I must also add Zac Efron is more than a pretty body; he is a truly talented guy. Efron has shown this before in Hairspray, but has never been given this type of material. Efron consistently stole each scene and was great in this film.
At the end of the days Neighbors is just plain funny. The cast, writing, the inside jokes of getting older, while trying to stay young. Neighbors never tries too hard, doesn't take itself too seriously, and lets you enjoy the ride.