REVIEW — “Neighbors”
“Neighbors,” while a hilarious use of time, is missing what makes something memorable. It lacks any epic one-liners, and the story is missing heart. That being said this is meant to be a comedy for 18-35 year olds, and I think it definitely hits its target.
Basically this is a story about appreciating what you have instead of wanting what you don’t, but there’s really no silver lining for most of the characters. We are introduced to Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, new parents going through the everyday motions of adult life, whose lives are turned upside down when a fraternity moves in next door. This is when we are introduced to Zac Efron who, I must admit, has one of his most complex characters to date. Efron really nails this part, and shows us that he can portray both light-hearted and goofy…and dark and menacing. However we aren’t given too much development on our other leads who just seem like a generic couple longing for the days of old.
I really enjoyed the fast paced nature of the flick as things get started pretty quickly, but there were some ‘comedic’ moments that were drawn out way too long (a la Danny McBride and James Franco scene in “This is the End”). During the party scenes they did a great job really helping you feel like you’re a part of it, and it the writing/dialogue really captures the essence of modern day college life. This is also what might turn off some older audience members as the way things are done now-a-days might seem offensive.
It’s hard to be too critical of a movie that is just meant to be funny, and has a specific target audience that will not care about depth of story or character development, but these are the things that keep it from being set apart from the rest of the similar genre fair. At the end of the day you will not remember a single original line (most funny lines are quotes from other movies), but you will remember some scenes (for a little while anyways). While the filmmaker wants you to feel like both sides can be rooted for in this situation (they started a trending war on Facebook over it) only one side is clearly in the right. Efron plays such an unsympathetic character that as things happen to him, that’s meant to make the audience have some sort of sympathy for him, you can’t help but not care. I relate this to the relationship between Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in “Due Date.”
With a fast pace, hilarious characters (albeit under-developed), decent plot, and funny scenarios “Neighbors” is definitely a comedy for the younger crowd (but not too young!). Much older audience will find little to appreciate thanks to the writing, and much younger audiences have no business seeing something like this. The college and adult crowds, however, will likely eat this up as it has non-stop laughs. Definitely a fun trip to the theater with your friends. 3.5/5