Maybe the most well received film by both audiences and critics this summer has been director Nicholas Stroller’s Neighbors. Frat vs. Family, Neighbors puts new parents Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne up against frat guys Zac Efron and Dave Franco in what looks like, based off of the trailers, an all out prank war for the ages. So does Neighbors live up to the great word of mouth it has received? Find out after the break….
Make no mistake: Neighbors is a funny movie, just not as laugh out loud funny as the trailers would indicate. Most of the great comedic beats in this film are given away in the trailer: the air bag prank, the condom, and the funniest part of the film, the Robert DeNiro party. While trailer giveaways are a common problem for modern comedies, usually Rogen tend to save a few more of the laughs for the actual film. While there are a few chuckle worthy moments in the film that you don’t see coming, none of them are all that memorable.
The past decade or so has seen the Judd Apatow crew lead by Seth Rogen make millions off of raunchy comedy, but have we finally seen enough? Apparently not based on the number of critics and general audience members that seemed to have enjoyed Neighbors, but at what point do audiences expect more out of their comedy? That’s not a harp on Neighbors; don’t get me wrong there are some very cleverly written jokes that come out of some cringe worthy moments. The problem is there just isn’t enough. I am in no way proclaiming myself above raunchy comedy or proclaiming the sub-genre dead, but it just seems that more often than not these days writers focus more on the shock of the raunchiness rather than the jokes surrounding it that make it memorable.
By the end, Neighbors feels like an unevenly paced film with both Rogen and Bryne going through the motions. This makes any emotional growth the film achieved through their relationship with their newborn daughter feel hollow. On the other end, Efron and Franco deliver much more memorable performances and moments that unfortunately most of us have already seen in the red-band trailer.
Confirmed: Eh and a 1/2