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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts- Every now and again, there is a comedy that comes out that looks stupid to begin with and then ends up being better than expected. Two years ago that movie was 21 Jump Street, which totally exceeded expectations. This year it looks like maybe that comedy could be Neighbors, which comes out today. Will it be? Let us see…
Mac and Kelly Radnor are going through a whole lot of changes. They’ve just bought a house in a nice neighborhood and welcomed a baby girl into the world. Things start to change a little more though when a frat house moves in next door. At first, things are fine between them, but it is taken a step too far. What follows is an all out war between family and fraternity.
Neighbors would in the hands of anyone else be a stupid comedy, but in the hands of Nicholas Stoller and a qualified cast, Neighbors is spared. Neighbors is the irreverent, ridiculous, and funny comedy that you’d hope it would be. It isn’t as hilarious as some of the other Stoller and Rogen vehicles, but it’s still an enjoyable ride thanks to the talents of its cast.
Seth Rogen is his typical self and plopping his archetype into various situations is a trope that hasn’t gotten old in this picture. Rose Byrne flexes her Bridesmaids comedy chops and proves herself to be quite good again. Zac Efron is douchely hysterical as the president of the fraternity president and it makes you wonder where he has been for the last couple of years. There are loads of other pretty good performances from Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Hannibal Burress, and Lisa Kudrow that make for an okay time.
The movie transcends expectations by not just being a film about college and parenthood, but a movie about growing up. Both sets of characters are faced with facing the harsh face of reality both after and during college. Having to face the music of maturity is something no one in this film is ready to face, and the movie deals with that effectively.
Neighbors is not as funny as it thinks it is, but it isn’t a bad time at all. When it’s funny, it’s funny, but sometimes it can seem like it’s trying too hard. The cast is up to task and it has a surprising thematic resonance underneath it. Is it the greatest comedy to come out in the last couple of years? No, but it’s a fun ride while it lasts.
Neighbors opens today in theaters everywhere.