Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bad behavior at its best...


To say that ‘Neighbors’ is something new or fresh and previously undone would be a pretty big lie.  I mean, this isn’t something we haven’t seen done many times before.  But, to say that ‘Neighbors’ feels new and fresh and previously undone is not that big of a stretch because, well, it’s hilarious and every joke leads so effortlessly into the next in a way that feels so new and fresh and previously undone.

I never stopped laughing.

‘Neighbors’ is not a movie you walk into expecting brilliance.  You walk into it expecting to laugh a few times and maybe see some boobs.  I know that sounds shallow, but it’s the truth.  For me, I love Rogen, so I was expecting more than just a few laughs.  I’ll be honest though, I wasn’t expecting this many.  So, the other night, while chilling on the couch with the bestie, a few beers and a half eaten pizza between us, we started watching probably the funniest movie I’ve seen in years.  Of course, by this I don’t mean the best comedy, or even the smartest, cleverest comedy, but I mean the most laugh-out-loud funny movie I’ve seen in a very, very long time.

I’m serious; I never stopped laughing.



The premise is simple.  Mac and Kelly are young parents with a baby who are just trying to get back to being normal.  They think they’ve managed a sense of normalcy with a nice new house on a nice family friendly street and then the unthinkable happens; a Frat House moves in next door.  This young couple, trying to stay ‘cool’ while being semi-responsible parents (so irresponsible, but in a hilarious manner) attempt to buddy up to the Frat boys, thinking that if they become friends the partying college kids will respect their neighbors and keep their noise level down.  So, they get acquainted, make requests, get sucked into the party, get dirt on themselves, get irritated, call the cops and start a war.  From this point forward, Mac and the Frat House President, Teddy, play a game of ‘who can outdo the other guy’ with Mac and his wife trying to get the Frat House shut down and Teddy trying to outsmart the couple and make their lives an unbearable mess.

Madness ensues in a way that I haven’t seen before.  The physical gags are incredibly well timed, the one liners are smart and sharp and the ensemble plays off of one another in such a classically comedic way that I can’t help but be completely drawn into every frame.  Efron handles the complexity of his character (he’s a jerk, but he has a hidden heart that bears itself at the right times to add layers we don’t expect), Dave Franco, James’s younger brother, is a perfect complement to Efron, lacing Teddy’s right hand man with a brain and a strong will.  Rogen does what he does best, spouting off one liners and using his own girth to create a relatable and likable fool.


But this movie is all about Rose Byrne.

Who saw this coming?  Who knew that Byrne was a comedic firehouse?  Who knew that she had this in her?  I remember almost a decade ago seeing this young woman flitter her way into my heart with a very flirty, witty, charming performance in ‘Marie Antoinette’.  I was smitten.  Then she signed on alongside Glenn Close to do the whole ‘dramatically important stuff’ for FX and that show ‘Damages’ and her reputation started to falter.  She was out of her element.  She was overshadowed.  She became someone no one cared about.  Then she did ‘Bridesmaids’ and everything changed.  She was, obviously, Oscar snubbed in favor of her more outrageous scene stealing co-star, but it was obvious she needed to invest herself in comedy.  She had that thing, that ‘it factor’, that ability to sell a joke perfectly.  ‘Neighbors’ is HER show.  She walks away with every single scene.  She does everything from kissing chicks to getting milked, and she does it all with such effortless believability.  This movie may try and be all about the boys, but she’s the heart.


So, while ‘Neighbors’ isn’t exactly new or fresh or previously undone, it feels like all of those things thanks to smart writing and a more than competent ensemble who sells every single scene.  


I always grade a film based on the genre and the intentions, and for a comedy intended to make me laugh, this one excels on all fronts.  It exceeds expectations, shows some interesting layers and brings it EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Yup, this gets an A from me, and I'm proud of that.                                                                   

20 comments:

  1. Great review! I loved this one too, and you're right. Who knew Byrne had that in her? She's great in these R rated comedies. Plus, I loved that Dean/Chancellor scene. That was too cute.

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    1. There was so much about this film that really surprised me. The humor could have just been a barrage of the same ol' same crude stuff, but it all felt bright and truly witty.

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  2. I almost rented it and now I will. Love your critique and why are comedies, that make one laugh out loud, where the timing is dead on, the screenplay is great cos it made us laugh ....why are they not recognized?? I must everything be highbrow where we snicker and that is considered great but one that made us laugh isn't even thought of for an Oscar or Golden Globe? I totally get the intelligent comedy and the farce but this comedy sound like a lot of fun

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    1. It is just that; FUN! I wish that comedy as a whole were appreciated for what it was and not always forced to conform to a dramedy.

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  3. Man, that was a fucking hilarious film. I want to see Rose Byrne and Zac Efron do more comedies like this. The scene where Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen take their baby to the hospital where the doctor made this horrible joke is hilarious.

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    1. LOL, I would have punched that doctor straight up IN THE FACE!

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  4. I couldn't agree more with this! Byrne officially owns me.

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    1. I want her to have my babies...and breast-feed them :-P

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  5. Yeah, this was really enjoyable - consistently funny and entertaining. And Rose Byrne! Where's the Oscar campaign?!

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    1. RIGHT! I really hope she snags a Comedy Globe nom, or at least one from those horrid Satellites. I have her as my Supporting winner, even though I know it is blatant category fraud, but honestly if I put her in Lead she'd still be my winner right now.

      These categories are so stacked already, and I haven't even seen half my quota yet!

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    2. She's in my Supporting lineup (which I finally updated on AW forums), but I think she could go either way.

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    3. I'm trying to convince myself of the same, so that I can justify her Fisti win.

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  6. Dude! I totally agree. Just watched this last Thursday night. Loved it! Laughed the whole time. And I am in full agreement with everybody on Rose Byrne on every level.

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    1. She's just incredible here, such an unexpected comedic force! I'm so happy that everyone I talk to feels the same way about her.

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  7. One more thing: Byrne was great in one of Nicholas Stoller's other comedies that I find purely classic…"Get Him to The Greek" (2010). Anybody else love that one as much as I do?

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    1. I still haven't seen that!!!! I really need to. I avoided it when it came out because I wasn't yet on the Jonah Hill train, and that other guy who was famous for five minutes is hard to look at, but now I feel like I really should see it at least once. They play it on Comedy Central like all the time.

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    2. Get Him to the Greek is absolutely hysterical! She was great in it and the torture Hill's character is put through by Brand is amazingly funny.

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    3. Crap, well now I really want to see it!

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  8. So glad you liked this one, it's by far the funniest comedy I've seen all year. When Efron was fighting Rogen and Rogen hit that ceiling fan I nearly peed myself.

    Byrne was amazing, I think she is my supporting actress win so far. I remember being shocked watching Get Him to the Greek for the first time years ago because she always kinda bored me as an actress and there she was being so hilarious and relaxed. She is really incredible in comedies.

    Also I really loved the relationship the central characters had - there are tons of douchy comments about Rogen getting hot girl to be his wife again but Rogen is always playing those decent, nice dudes. That's so rare. That is hotter than having crazy abs and bullshit like that. I loved how they have big argument and she leaves but instead of doing the usual 'they are apart for 20 mins he makes a big gesture and she returns' she returned in the very next scene.

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    1. YES! That momentary fight/split scene was so perfectly handled! I was so happy they didn't go the cliched route.

      And yes to Rogen deserving the hot girl. People balk, but this stuff happens ALL THE TIME...it's a known fact that men are far more superficial than women when it comes to relationships. Men will date a complete bitch as long as she's hot, but most women will dump the hot asshole and date the frumpy nice guy in a heartbeat.

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