I’ve got to be honest with you, despite my love and respect for Mr. Rogen and Mr. Efron, I went into “Neighbors” prepared to roll my eyes and grin and bear it.
I’ll admit now, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
It’s crass and crude, and I cringed for more than a few of the frat moments, but I have to give props where they’re due, and buried under the piles crap is a great story about what growing up is really like, and what separates the frat boys from the family guys.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are new parents in a new house, trying to figure out exactly what that means for who they are. They’re adorable and sorting things out and smoking the occasional joint (because it’s a Seth Rogen movie) when a fraternity moves into the house next door.
The young couple start out trying to be the cool neighbors, hoping to endear themselves to the fraternity leaders, Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco). It starts with some partying and ends with Mac and Kelly betraying the trust and calling the cops with a noise complaint. What follows is all-out war.
I could have lived with a few fewer boob shots and dick jokes, but I can appreciate that I am not the target audience.
Seth Rogen and Zac Efron are worthy sparring partners and Rose Byrne is a total surprise. I love her as an actress I just would not have ever placed her in this movie. She’s absolutely hilarious, but authentic. Her struggles as a young, bored stay-at-home mom manage to not get lost among the frat pranks.
Kelly and Mac have an awesome argument (I know it’s an odd way to phrase it) at one point in the movie where they’re both telling the other one that they need to grow up and be the serious one in the relationship. That point is what makes this movie worth it. Because that’s the point (or I’m making it the point): that moment when you realize that the partying and the pranking and the sabotage are ridiculous, and ridiculousness is okay, but it has its place, and you have to know when to move on. That’s called growing up.
So, final thoughts: Will I be watching this movie again? Probably not, but as far as summer movies go it’s still miles ahead of “Green Lantern,” the standard for horrible storytelling.