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!
There’s an old saying that goes, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” True enough, but as Hollywood has taught us, you should add neighbors to the “cannot choose” list.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star in “Neighbors” as Mac and Kelly, aging hipsters and parents to newborn Stella. “Just because we have a house and a baby doesn’t mean we’re old people,” says Mac.
Their quiet suburban life is uprooted when unruly frat boys led by Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) move in next door. The frat has a storied history, laying claim to originating Toga Parties, Beer Pong and something called Boot and Rally.
“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 a house party spirals out of control the couple has to call the police, thereby violating the fragile “circle of trust” between the two households. With their bond broken, petty resentments trigger a Hatfield and McCoy’s style feud between Teddy and Company and Mac and Kelly.
“Neighbors” could have simply been “Animal House” for a new generation but mixed in with the laughs—and there are a lot of laughs—is a character study of two people suffering from arrested development. Rogen and Byrne 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 young and cool while being responsible adults, is very funny and adds a nice subtext to what could have been simply a very silly comedy.
But make no mistake. This is as raunchy and batty a farce as we’ll see this year, but the reason we laugh so hard at the inane stuff is because there is something deeper at work. The frustration, irritation and exhaustion that goes along with being a new parent is amplified, giving the outrageous comedic characters some grounding. Characters like this are frequent in reel life but Bryne and Rogen bring them into real life.
“Neighbors” is not so much a story as it is an idea played out in a series of wild gags, but good performances—watching Rose Byrne, in her natural Aussie accent, out cursing and out doing Rogen with razor sharp comic timing is one of the film’s big pleasures—and some unexpected heart make it a cut above the usual frat boy fare.
Think about it; Las Vegas is the perfect place for a vampire to hang out. There are no castles or creepy forests but there are lots of potential victims who don’t go out until the sun goes down. It’s a town that lives at night which makes it the perfect place for Jerry (Colin Farrell) the new vampire in town.
Based on Tom Holland’s 1985 camp classic original of the same name, “Fright Night” sticks to the basic plot of its namesake but this isn’t a traditional vampire thriller. It’s more “True Blood” than “Dracula.”
High school senior Charlie (Anton Yeltin) doesn’t believe his childhood friend Ed’s (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) claim that Jerry, the new guy on the block, is a vampire. Doesn’t believe him, that is, until their friends start to go missing. With the help of his girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) and a swishy vampire expert named Peter Vincent (David Tennant in the role Roddy McDowell made famous) Charlie tries to put a stake through Jerry’s reign of terror.
Even though “Fright Night” starts as a high school horror, this ain’t “Twilight.” It’s more concerned with thrills and chills and laughs than romance or teen ennui. This is a horror film, and a pretty good one too once it gets past the set up.
The first hour threatens to get bogged down by deliberate pacing and a slowish unveiling of the plot points but is rescued by engaging performances by Yeltin and Poots, and an eerie turn by Farrell. At the sixty minute mark the horror hits, the pace picks up and the blood starts spurting.
“Fright Night” is popcorn horror with just enough bite to appeal to horror audiences and more casual vampire fans.
Three years ago I described the original “Kick-Ass” movie as what it would be like, “If Quentin Tarantino made a kid’s coming-of-age movie… It has most of his trademarks—clever dialogue, good soundtrack and some high-octane violence—but there’s a twist. The bloodiest, most cut throat purveyor of ultra violence in the film is an eleven year old girl.”
It was most certainly not your average superhero flick. Instead it was a subversive story that allowed superheroes to leap off the pages of comic books and unto the streets of the real (ish) world.
Question is, does the sequel, well, kick ass as much as the original?
In the new film begins just weeks after the last one ended. Wannabe crime fighters Dave/Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Monday/Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) have hung up their capes but for different reasons. “It was way to dangerous,” says Dave. The only problem? Now he’s bored.
Mindy only quits when her guardian Detective Marcus Williams (Morris Chestnut) makes her promise she’ll stop wearing her Hit Girl suit and beating the tar out of bad guys.
They soon discover straight life isn’t for them when Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) turns supervillain—and gives himself a new name I can’t print here and a costume that resembles a glam rock getup circa 1973—vowing to take his revenge on Kick-Ass for the death of his father. Mindy mostly keeps her promise but Dave dons his suit and teams with Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), an ex-mobster who leads a gang of Kick-Ass inspired vigilantes.
Following a blood soaked climax superhero Dr. Gravity (“Scrubs’” Donald Faison) says, “You know, we can never do that again,” to his crime fighting colleagues as police sirens blare. By that point in the movie, however, one secretly hopes he was talking to director Jeff Wadlow, who took interesting source material and shaped it into a violent, nasty and mean spirited sequel.
The satirical shock value of the first movie is spent, replaced by less-than-subtle observations on life inside and out of a high school clique, loyalty and a heaping of teenage drama. Oh, and don’t forget the gallons of fake blood.
Moretz is still entertaining and Taylor-Johnson has clearly been spending some time at the gym, but unfortunately their movie, despite the name, does not kick ass.