Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Neighbors’ Review: Starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron & Rose Byrne

Seth Rogen has come a long way since his breakout role as goofy police Officer Michaels in 2007’s Superbad, which he co-wrote with his best friend Evan Goldberg. Rogen and Goldberg have collaborated on several films together including 2008’s Pineapple Express and last year’s This Is the End. While Rogen stars in Neighbors and Goldberg steps back to produce, the film could have really used their talents in comedic dialogue in the screenplay.

Zac Efron has also come a long way since his High School Musical days and now he’s graduated to President of the party-hardy fraternity in Neighbors. Though Efron’s more dramatic roles (Charlie St. Cloud, The Lucky One, The Paperboy) didn’t pan over well with most critics, there’s no denying that he’s back in his element in Neighbors and that he and Rogen make a fun comedic duo. If there’s one thing that Neighbors gets right it’s putting these two opposite of each other and throwing the fantastic Rose Byrne into the mix.

New parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) couldn’t be happier about moving into their dream home with their baby daughter. Their first few nights are quiet bliss as they get a feel for their new neighborhood and are still adapting to parenthood. A few days later, Mac and Kelly’s new neighbors move in, a party hardy fraternity led by blue-eyed girl magnet Teddy (Zac Efron) and his equally charming best friend Pete (Dave Franco).

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That night during a very noising party, Mac and Kelly knock on the door to ask Delta Psi to “keep it down,” only to be invited in by Teddy to join the party. Teddy ensures Pete that friending their neighbors will make their lives a lot easier going forward. Mac and Teddy get high, while Kelly and Teddy’s girlfriend Brooke (Halston Sage) tell stories of how they first met their significant others. Everything seems to be getting off to a good start for the new neighbors, until the next night when Delta Psi hosts another loud party and Mac calls the cops on them. From that point on, its war between the two homes, while Mac and Kelly do whatever it takes to get the frat kicked out of the house and Teddy and Pete annoy the new parents to no end.

Director Nicholas Stoller’s (2012’s The Five-Year Engagement) film has some extremely hilarious scenes and everyone in the cast is fantastic in their roles, though the story definitely had some missed opportunities. Unlike some other memorable comedies like Superbad, Knocked Up or 21 Jump Street, Neighbors fails to allow the audience to really connect with the characters and care about what they are going through. There isn’t a particularly favored character in the film, (they are all pretty insane and obsessed), with the exception of baby, and because of that it’s more difficult to care if they succeed or not.

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Though Dave Franco is usually the scene-stealer in his recent films, in Neighbors, that honor goes to our female star Rose Byrne. Byrne is perfect as mama bear Kelly and she holds her own against Rogen. Neighbors has the funniest scene I’ve seen so far this year and that is because of Rose Byrne. It’s the scene where Rogen and Byrne attend a party at the fraternity house in attempt sever the friendship between Efron and Franco’s characters. Everyone in the theatre was cracking up.

Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron and Dave Franco are fantastic in these roles, each of them offering notable scenes in the film. Though there are some missed opportunities in the story, Neighbors is a fun comedy that sure to make you laugh somewhere in that hour and a half of craziness.

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