“Neighbors” – Review by Matt Marshall

"Neighbors" (2014) - Movie Review (We Live Film)

Raunchy Rivalry Soars to Ridiculous Heights in Neighbors 

by Matt Marshall

So how exactly is Seth Rogen an old man again? Because that’s exactly what frat pretty boy Zac Efron calls his new neighbor Mac in Neighbors.

In Neighbors, Seth Rogen (This is the End) and Rose Bryne (Bridesmaids) raise their infant daughter in a quiet neighborhood. That is, until Delta Psi Beta turns the house next door into party central. Delta Psi is your typical fraternity – parties, hazing, the works essentially. After one rowdy shindig, Mac calls Delta Psi out, wanting peace in the neighborhood. That’s simply the first shot in this all-out suburban battle.

There’s no denying Neighbors is loaded with its share of hysterics. The film is convincingly directed by Nicholas Stoller. Stoller brought audiences some fine comedies over the past few years. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek and The Five-Year Engagement all were entertaining and occasionally outlandish.

Neighbors sets the bar even higher for Stoller. It helps when Stoller has two fine comedians like Rogen and Byrne, playing off each other so genuinely. Seth Rogen’s been a staple to the comedy genre since 2005’s The 40-Year Old Virgin and long list of Judd Apatow comedies to follow.

Rogen has yet to evolve as an actor, constantly typecast in one pot comedy after another. But here at 32, he’s the veteran comedian of the bunch. It’s awkward seeing him being treated by the frat as a 40-year-old Gen-X’er.

SEE ALSO: Neighbors – Review by Daniel Rester

If it wasn’t for the strong comedic presences of Rogen, Bryne and yes even Efron, Neighbors would’ve been better backing up its U-Haul and hightailing. Fortunately that’s not the case. The film is extremely thin on plot, but it’s here to serve up a delicious raunchy rivalry.

Which way will the family get back at the frat next and vice-versa? The best comebacks have already been seen in the trailers, leaving little shock or surprise for the actual film. The baby and the condom scene and Seth Rogen’s battle with air bags remain some of Neighbors funniest moments.

Sure, the ridiculous factor is raised through the roof, especially when Mac and his wife are the only one’s at war with the frat. The rest of the neighborhood is alright with all the ruckus. But who’s looking for reality here?

As Mac’s adversary, Efron shockingly delivers a solid performance here as Teddy. That point’s hammered home when that script alternates point-of-views between family and frat. While shallow as he reasons are, there’s a meaning behind the madness for Teddy.

His main bros, Dave Franco (who does one fine DeNiro from Meet the Parents) and Kick-Ass’ Christopher Mintz-Plasse are equally hilarious and spiked with a little more depth than expected.

Considering Neighbors is a lean 90 minutes, there’s plenty of anarchy happening in such little time. That in itself is a blessing compared to Stoller’s previous long-winded comedies. In the end, there’s little heart but plenty of senseless phallic and drug gags to chuckle at.

Neighbors isn’t destined to become the next frat classic like Animal House, but becoming the breakout comedy of 2014 is certainly within its grasp.

GRADE: B+ (4/5)


Matt Marshall is a YouTube movie reviewer who hosts MNMreviews. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.

Written by
Matt Marshall has been reviewing films since 2003, starting with "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." He specializes in home media, including 4K UHD, Blu-ray as well as box office analysis. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.

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