Seth Rogen and Zac Efron in Neighbors (2014)


(director: Nicholas Stoller; screenwriters: Andrew J. Cohen/Brendan O’Brien; cinematographer: Brandon Trost; editor: Zene Baker; music: Michael Andrews; cast: Seth Rogen (Mac Radner), Zac Efron (Teddy Sanders), Rose Byrne (Kelly Radner), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Scoonie), Dave Franco (Pete), Ike Barinholtz (Jimmy), Jerrod Carmichael (Garf), Andy Samberg (Toga No. 1), Carla Gallo (Paula), Hannibal Buress (Officer Watkins), Lisa Kudrow (Dean Carol Gladstone), Zoey Vargas (Stella); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg/James Weaver; Universal; 2014)

“More vulgar than funny.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A gross-out Animal House party boy youth comedy about a generation war between jerky college kids and a pretentious young adult couple of marrieds trying to grow up. The film is more vulgar than funny. Director Nicholas Stoller(“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”/”Get Him to the Greek“/”The Five-Year Engagement“) keeps it frat boy stupid (it’s a movie theme staple which seems to have a large mass appeal), as writers Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien spare us none of the usual raucous comic moments in this witless comedy genre. In addition, it’s lazily scripted and offers nothing much worthwhile to say about growing up.

Office worker Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and bored stay-at-home mom Kelly (Rose Byrne) and infant Stella (Zoey Vargas) enjoy living in their new bungalow home. But the couple get upset that the Delta Psi Beta fraternity moves in next door in their California college community and won’t shut down the noise despite their effort to try and be hip and offer neighborly friendship. The slight plot has the harried couple, whose life has suddenly changed for the worse, try to deal with this vexing problem, as they chat up the muscle-bound frat prez Teddy (Zac Efron) and the brainy vice prez, Pete (Dave Franco), looking for solutions. The result is the frat boys act vengeful when the couple calls the cops after promising not to and that starts an all-out war, whereby the frat boys mess with the couple and the couple fights back by trying to get them evicted.

It’s not a good film, by any stretch of the imagination, just a mean-spirited venture that gleefully springs on the viewer a number of shocking lewd jokes about such things as a bromance between frat boy leaders, a dance-off and physiques contest between the obese Rogen and the Adonis-like Efron, the challenge of the couple screwing without hangups when a child is at home, some dreadful Robert De Niro impressions and a lame gag about pumping breast milk. If such gross-out arrested adolescent comedy antics appeal to your undemanding funny bone, then we have a different taste in comedy.