Review: ‘Neighbors’

Neighbors-film-zac-and-dave

Neighbors is a stereotypical college flick. If you’re going to watch it correctly, you can’t expect to get much out of it. It’s not good for punch lines, but is a good example of solid physical humor — mostly involving airbags. It has no substance, but you’ll have a few laughs by way of good comedic actors.

We’re first introduced to Mac and Kelly — Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, respectively — new parents who are figuring it out. The last thing they need is a fraternity to move in next door, but it’s exactly what they get. They play along at first, performing in a hilarious scene mimicking chill college kids, but a lot goes wrong because if we can learn anything from this film it’s this: Don’t mess with fraternity brothers.

And like so, Neighbors reflects incredibly poorly on Greek Life off campus. And just to balance everything out, most of the producing and directing team is coming back for a Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, due 2016. It brings back much of the cast — Rogen, Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, etc. — while adding a couple ladies who could make this really fun — Chloe Grace Moretz and Selena Gomez.

What’s sad, Neighbors could’ve been something more of it was more self-aware. The story lost in everything is Efron’s. He plays Teddy, the fraternity president, who’s obsessed with becoming one of his house’s living legends.

However, during a scene at an on-campus job fair, Teddy realizes he’s lost control of his future by being too distracted. He barely goes to class. He’s scraping by. But he doesn’t know what AT&T is, and they’re looking for smarter people anyway. He spits some insulting quip at the job fair as he walks away — dirt off his shoulder — but he lingers only slightly, which is enough to realize the real story should be about him finding his way to real life. Instead, I suppose Neighbors sticks to its guns. Teddy goes down in a blaze of glory at one last bash and ends up a shirtless greeter outside of the Abercrombie. You decide which you like better.

Byrne’s been way better. Rogen’s been better. Efron’s sometimes just a body. Dave Franco, though, is good. His impression of Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents is so on point it’s ridiculous — one of the best scenes in the film.

“Neighbors”: ★★

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