Movie Breakdown: Neighbors (Noah)

May 9, 2014


People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Seth Rogen is the herald of the new wave of comedy and I’ll see anything he’s in. Especially if it features Zac Efron as a crazy-as-fuck frat boy dictator. Sold.

The Reality:

Neighbors is going to be quoted for a very, very, very long time. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are new parents and new homeowners wallowing in the early stages of adulthood. Everything changes when a frat house full of drunken, rowdy hooligans led by Zac Efron’s Teddy moves in next door. To say the least the very short moment of neighborly happiness dissipates quickly, and the Radner’s and the boys of Delta Psi find themselves in a heated battle of, well, craziness.

First things first, this is a very funny film. Rogen doesn’t deviate from his poor schlub persona, but at this point, he’s so good, that I’m hankering to see him push the character into whatever situation his films might call for. Efron, though stilted at times, sheds his long history of teen-beat shit, and waves the freak flag high, turning out a character loosely pulled from the frat-boy handbook, but with a deviance all his own. Rose Byrne though is the stand-out for me in the film, her Kelly is an absolute blast, a new mother trying to hold on to her youth while juggling the responsibilities newly thrust upon her. She’s charming and sweet, but manages to inject a sense of manipulative deviousness that made me smile.

And yes, this is a funny film that college kids are going to be loading bongs to for years to come, but the heart of the film is the very real relationship between Mac and Kelly. These are people who, refreshingly, love each other for exactly who they are, and the trials and tribulations they go through in the film, and the ways they continue to respond, feel real. You want them to succeed in screwing over these douchey frat guys, but in the same moment you want them to realize just how stupid they’re being. Nicholas Stoller does a fine job of painting a picture of two people on the edge of growing up, but injects it with enough dildo fights and sex jokes to make it an absolute blast from start to finish. This is a frat comedy for the introspective 2010s, penis chokers and emotional breakthroughs included.

The Lesson:

Rose Byrne is my new celeb crush.


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