SYNOPSIS: Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star as Mac and Kelly, aging hipsters and parents to newborn Stella. Their quiet suburban life is uprooted when unruly frat boys led by Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) move in next door. “Make sure that if we’re too noisy, call me,” says Teddy on the eve of a big blowout. “Don’t call the cops.” When the house party spirals out of control the couple has to call the police, thereby violating the fragile “circle of trust” between the two households. Trust broken, petty resentments trigger a Hatfield and McCoy’s style feud between Teddy and Company and Mac and Kelly.
Richard: 4 Stars
Mark: 3 Stars
Richard: Mark, there’s an old saying that goes, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” True enough, but as this movie teaches us, you should add neighbors to the “cannot choose” list. Living next door to the frat boys would be a nightmare in real life, but in reel life it’s a great situation for humor. The movie is not so much a story as it is an idea played out in a series of gags, but it is funny. Raunchy, but funny.
Mark: Also a movie that would have us believe there are no zoning bylaws in this fictitious college town. And Richard, I half agree with you. There are two movies here. One is the story of a young married couple with a baby; the other the story of a bunch of frat house goofs. The former is extremely funny—Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne have a comedic chemistry as good as any great vaudeville duo. The frat boys, unfortunately, are mostly indistinguishable and their scenes made me long for Animal House. Why cast the wonderful Christopher Mintz-Plasse and give him so little to do?
RC: I wondered that as well, but let’s face it, in the frat house side of things Efron’s abs are the star. And his hair. And toothy grin. No room for the less physical charms of Mintz-Plasse. The real charm here, though, as you say, lies with Rogen and Byrne. They have great chemistry, and are a natural match; like a frat boys and bongs. Their story doesn’t hinge on the war with the neighbors, however, as much as it does the way they battle against growing up. Their need to be thought of as cool while still being responsible adults, is very funny and adds a nice subtext to what could have been simply a very silly comedy.
MB: And in this way, the movie could be seen as a sequel to Knocked Up. Both films deal with Rogen as a dad and a late bloomer to maturity. Neighbours wouldn’t be nearly as successful if the couple were older or stuffier. It hits the right note of them being almost young enough to take part in frat house shenanigans, but not with the responsibility of a newborn. As a recent first time dad, I can tell you they got all those jokes right. But, Richard, I still laughed the hardest at some of the physical stuff. The airbag sequence is bound to be a classic.
RC: The airbag gags made me laugh, for sure, but the real treat for me was watching Rose Byrne, in her natural Aussie accent, out cursing and out doing Rogen with razor sharp comic timing.
MB: Or check out her seduction scene of two frat kids-one male, one female-which will get an applause break from the audience every time!