Looking for a movie full of hot actors that remove their shirts frequently, or a movie that you will inevitably quote for days after? Look no further than “Neighbors.”
Looking for a movie filled with solid plot points and humor that will make you choke on your popcorn? Maybe try something else.
“Neighbors,” directed by Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Muppets Most Wanted”) and featuring comedy veteran Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron and Dave Franco, is full of both heartwarming and laugh-out-loud moments. The actors embraced their roles well and valiantly tried to incorporate the serious undertones that sprinkled the plot. But not even the most seasoned actors seemed to be able to pull it off completely, leaving behind a bitter aftertaste of what could have been a fantastic movie.
As a quick summary for those who haven’t seen the trailer, Rogen and Byrne are brand new parents, and the first scene of the movie shows them moving into their new house in a quiet suburban neighborhood. The quiet doesn’t last long, however, as a fraternity moves into the empty house next to their own. As one could imagine, chaos and hilarity ensue.
Crass humor aside, Rogen and Byrne manage to play an exhausted couple with a newborn baby quite well. The sweet moments between them are almost better than the funny moments, mostly because Rogen can’t seem to let what’s supposed to be a funny scene end on a funny note. As what seems to be his style, though, the humor drags on and on in the same scene with improvised lines that stop getting funny and start getting annoying really quick.
After sitting through all 107 minutes of “This Is the End” last year and being subjected to that torture, this can hardly be considered a welcome reprieve.
Efron plays a very convincing president of the fraternity. With his washboard abs and bright blue eyes, every appearance of him on the screen is a breath of fresh air from the slightly stale humor coming from Rogen and Byrne.
But his good looks aren’t the only things that make him entertaining. Efron has come a long way since his “High School Musical” days, and he is actually able to not only hit every punchline, but also be the only dynamic character of the movie that makes a personal change. It is the tip of the iceberg for the serious subplot in “Neighbors.”
Franco plays the vice president of the fraternity and best friend to Efron’s character, and he provides such a heartwarming, adorable side to an otherwise dull plot that you can’t help but laugh or “aw” at everything he says, even if the dialogue is not funny or sweet.
The combination of Efron’s and Franco’s characters help to ground the movie so that the moviegoer isn’t completely confused as to why he or she spent $10 to go see it.
“Neighbors” is actually quite an entertaining movie. That is, if you can manage to ignore the obvious plot holes and keep your mind open to all forms of humor, funny or not. While I was hoping for a movie more like Efron’s “That Awkward Moment” or Byrne’s “The Internship,” “Neighbors” didn’t altogether disappoint.