Neighbors

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are a young couple with a newborn daughter, Stella. The restrictions of parenthood make it difficult for them to maintain their old lifestyle, which alienates them from their friends Jimmy Blevins (Ike Barinholtz) and his ex-wife, Paula (Carla Gallo). One day, the couple finds out that Delta Psi Beta, a fraternity known for their outrageous parties, has moved into an adjacent house. The fraternity’s leaders, Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and Pete Regazolli (Dave Franco), aspire to join Delta Psi’s Hall of Fame by throwing a massive end-of-the-year party.

One night, the couple ask Teddy to keep the noise down. Teddy agrees on the condition that Mac and Kelly always call him instead of calling the police. To earn Mac and Kelly’s favor, Teddy invites them to join the party, which the couple agree to. At the party, Kelly meets Teddy’s girlfriend, Brooke Shy (Halston Sage), and Teddy shows Mac his bedroom, which includes a stash of fireworks and a breaker box that controls their power.

The following night, Mac is unable to get in touch with Teddy to ask him to keep it down. Kelly convinces Mac to call the police, but Officer Watkins (Hannibal Buress) identifies them to Teddy. The following day, Delta Psi constantly hazes Mac and Kelly. The couple goes to the college dean, Carol Gladstone (Lisa Kudrow), and learn that the school has a three strikes policy; burning down their old house was Delta Psi’s first strike.

After failing to force the fraternity to move by damaging their house, Kelly manipulates Pete and Brooke into having sex and Mac gets Teddy to catch them. Teddy and Pete fight, which ends with a barbecue grill being rolled into the path of a passing car and injuring a professor, giving Delta Psi their second strike. To acquire evidence of Delta Psi’s hazing, Kelly and Mac hire a pledge nicknamed Assjuice (Craig Roberts) to stand up to Teddy to record him threatening retaliation. When Teddy instead shows him kindness, he reveals that Mac and Kelly hired him and also damaged their house. Teddy begins playing violent pranks on the couple.

Mac and Kelly send Teddy a counterfeit letter from Gladstone enabling them to have parties again, and Teddy begins planning their end-of-the-year bash. Once the party is in full swing, the Radners call Watkins to complain about the noise. Teddy discovers the random strangers sent by Mac, Kelly and Jimmy. After finding a flyer about the party and determining the letter is counterfeit, he stops the party just as Watkins arrives. Jimmy throws himself from the balcony to distract Teddy, allowing Mac and Kelly to sneak into Teddy’s bedroom and restart the party using the breaker box. Teddy catches them and fights Mac, while Kelly lights one of the fireworks and shoots it at Watkins’s patrol car. Teddy takes the blame for the party and convinces Pete to take the others and flee. Gladstone shuts the house down and Mac and Kelly return home, adjusting to their new lives.

Four months later, Mac is at an outdoor shopping mall when he runs into Teddy, who is working as a shirtless greeter at Abercrombie & Fitch. The two greet each other warmly and Teddy tells Mac that he is attending night classes to complete his degree. Mac takes off his shirt and jokingly acts as a greeter with Teddy.

Mac and Kelly later take pictures of Stella dressed in various costumes for a calendar. They get a call from Jimmy and Paula, who are attending Burning Man and invite the couple to come, including Stella. Mac and Kelly decline, accepting their new roles as parents.

REVIEW:

Growing up as a military brat, I am more than aware of what it is like to be the new neighbor moving into the neighborhood. What happens, though, when the new folks to move in are a fraternity and you’re just a quiet young couple with a new baby? Neighbors aims to answer that question.

What is this about?

New parents Mac and Kelly Radner love their neighborhood — until a rowdy fraternity moves next door and changes the block into party central. As Mac tries to restore a baby-friendly environment, an epic battle ensues.

What did I like?

Fratboy douche. Fraternities have not been portrayed in the greatest light on film. Before I went to college, I thought this was a bit of a stereotype and/or exaggeration, but after meeting a few frat boys and going to some parties, I can say this is most certainly not true, as they are pretty much like this. I have to hand it to Zac Efron, though, this is a guy that has made a solid name for himself post-Disney and continues to do so with a myriad of different roles. On top of that, he has that look that frat boy presidents tend to have, so kudos to him and the casting director.

Airbags. One of the best gags in the film has to do with airbags. I won’t spoil exactly what it is, but I will say that it was a stroke of genius for the frat to get the upper hand on the “old people”. I’m not sure how they managed to break into places and get the airbags or how they managed to get them work at just the right time, but it had me rolling on the floor laughing.

Husband and wife. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne. Two people who you never would expect to be married (I’ll touch on that in a bit) actually have some terrific chemistry. Usually with Byrne, she’s playing some super stuffy character that just needs to let loose once in a while whole Rogen is the laid back pothead. In a way they are still those same character, but Byrne is a much looser version and Rogen is…well, let’s just say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! There are times between these two that I really did think they were husband and wife. Hopefully, we’ll get to see them work together again in some form or another.

What didn’t I like?

Assface. There is this character, a pledge for the fraternity, called Assface. Rogen and Byrne manage to trick him into spying and betraying his frat, but something happens and he just cracks. Ok, that happens, but then he just goes on spilling the beans about everything else that happened. Here’s my problem with that. First off, there is something seriously wrong with a guy if he can’t keep anything secret. Second, why would they trust him with that information?!? This is a freshman in college pledging a fraternity. He is going to do any and everything to get in, and that includes turn on you at the first chance he gets. I can’t believe they didn’t know that!

Other neighbors. With the exception of one scene, we don’t see or hear anything from the other neighbors and in that scene it is shown that the frat is getting them “on their side”. Look, I don’t care how firmly planted in someone’s camp I am, if they consistently play loud music at 3 or 4 in the morning, I will lodge a complaint. That may be me sounding like an old “fuddy-duddy”, but I need my sleep! Judging by the looks of these neighbors, they would complain if someone looked at them wrong, so I don’t get why there weren’t more complaints. Also, and this is probably the biggest flaw in the film…how does a fraternity movie into a nice neighborhood like that?!?

Ralph Cramden. The fat guy and the hot wife. We’ve been seeing this trend since The Honeymooners, at least. I don’t have a problem with it, other than wondering how in the world a guy like Rogen lands a hot, international chick like Byrne. It leaves me dumbfounded. I want to know his secret!  Seriously, though, my biggest pet peeve with these two has to do with a sex scene they have. We see a nude Rogen on top of poor Rose Byrne (who is actually clothed, as someone just pointed out to me) and it looks like he’s smothering the poor woman. Thank goodness this was for a comedic scene with the frat boys being voyeurs because that was not sexy at all. Speaking of sexy, we get to see Rogen’s bare ass, but what about Rose’s goodies? Well, she does whip them out in some strange breastfeeding scene, but it is far from hot, as they are all veiny and weird. Why this film teased us with that, I don’t know!

Neighbors is the kind of film that you know exists and you want to check it out and some point, but just never get around to it. Don’t get me wrong, it does have some good parts, but the parts that aren’t, well, they really aren’t! While not totally horrible, this is a film that did nothing to make the audience think it is anything more than some half-baked National Lampoon’s Animal House clone where the original formula has been so diluted, all that remains is a raunchy college fraternity. I have to say this is not something I would recommend, but I won’t fault you for watching.

3 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Neighbors”

  1. […] the comedic chaos of the original, this rollicking sequel finds Teddy and Pete coming to the Radner family’s rescue, wading […]

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