The summer movie season means explosions and raunchy comedies for the audiences crowding the theatres. “Neighbors” is the first of the comedies to hit this season, and with one of the comedy favorites of today, Seth Rogen, it is looking to make a solid haul at the box office.
Which doesn’t mean it should. Hear me out. What happened to the days of clean comedy? Why must we be consistently subjected to a barrage of male and female genitalia, breasts, drugs and a whole host of other “raunchy” comedy tropes in order to, apparently, be amused? Just food for thought.
“Neighbors” will probably become the new college movie for the next half-decade. Mac and Kelly Radner are settling into their new home when unexpected new neighbors take up residence: the fraternity of Delta Psi. When the Radner’s initially try to be the cool couple next door, it quickly devolves into full on war when the couple takes action to ensure a full nights sleep for themselves and their infant.
The movie keeps the audience waiting for the next big visual gag, most of which were showcased in the marketing campaign leading up to the film. It’s short running time of 97 minutes works out, in not trying to draw out a simple premise for longer than necessary. Some of the more gross humor doesn’t seem repetitive, although the consistent penis humor can get a little wearing for those who might not find it funny more than once, if at all.
The star of the movie is Zac Efron. He commits wholeheartedly to the crazed Delta Psi president, enacting act after act of comical cruelty on the couple with a smirk on his face. Compared to this, Seth Rogen seems exactly like his character, trying to keep up with the young guy next door, and one up him in the process. Next to Efron, the comedy comes from Rose Byrne, who is so out of place as the highbrow Australian stay at home mom that it’s hysterical seeing her commit to acts of debauchery and sabotage. Despite that fact, the pairing of Byrne and Rogen is awkward, and stays that way for the entire film.
In two parts, despite the gross humor, the movie is about growing up. The Radner couple faces the reality that they are the “old couple” and can’t keep up with the crowd like they once could. It is the fact that everyone faces, and the choice to grow up or stay stuck in your past might be difficult at first, but the real choice will eventually smack you in the face.
“Neighbors” lands a solid B from me. It is funny, and it is consistent in maintaining its simple premise, but in all, the crude humor is a bit exhausting at this point. “Neighbors” is rated R for drug use, strong sexual content, nudity and pervasive language.