Oct 27, 2014

[Movies] Neighbors (2014)

Tobie used to tease me all the time about Zac Efron. I'm pretty sure that I didn't actually have a crush on him, but then he figured I liked pretty boys or something. But then Zac Efron started really growing up and it became rather difficult to ignore his physique. On the flipside, I could always tease him about his like for Seth Rogen, and that's something that always works as long as he doesn't get too skinny.

Then along came Neighbors, a movie that front bills both actors. So I guess you could say that it was a movie perfectly crafted for both of us. And based on the initial trailers, it actually seemed rather funny.

The movie is pretty funny and wasn't quite as stupid as I expected to be. To be fair, there was still a fair amount of stupid, but it was appropriate for the movie and it still worked out for the most part. But I suppose it was balanced out with various other elements that were in play.

For the record, I think we all have to acknowledge that Zac Efron has gotten scarily sexy over the years. Seth Rogen described the whole situation pretty well in this Conan appearance.

Synopsis: Neighbors (or Bad Neighbors outside the US) is a 2014 comedy directed by Nicholas Stoller. The screenplay was written by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien. The movie was produced by the same time behind This is the End - Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, and James Weaver.

The movie begins with married couple Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) settling into life as parents with their newborn daughter. Naturally this results in a lot of changes in their life including no longer being able to hang out with their friends like Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) and his ex-wife Paula (Carla Gallo). And at the very least they live in a nice little suburban neighborhood that seems perfect for raising a child.

Well, that part was true until the very house next door becomes available and the Delta Psi Beta frat as led by Teddy (Zac Efron) eventually moves in. And while Mac and Kelly ask them to be considerate of their neighbors and the fact that they have a baby, it's not too long before the frat is throwing a wild party. Mac and Kelly again go over and try to get them to keep the noise down and Teddy invites them to join in instead and get them to promise not to call the police if they have complaints but to talk to the frat leaders instead. But another party night comes along and Mac and Kelly give up and call the police, then the real trouble begins. And the rest of the movie consists of them trying to deal with the frat and the odd threat they represent.

First, Rogen and Byrne have amazing on-screen chemistry and they totally work as a young couple. They're rather adorable together and this seems like both an achievement in great acting and good comedic writing. And you can totally see how the characters work as a couple given their different strengths and weaknesses, but of course in some pretty crazy situations.

The movie is pretty darned funny and I was able to totally get past the fact that Teddy's second in command, Pete, was actually by Dave Franco. And I've had a pretty odd track record with movies that include Dave Franco for one reason or another. Perhaps it's just some odd and completely illogical conclusion. Or something like that. But really, the movie makes good use of both crazy dialog and physical comedy without resorting to too much low-brow, gross-out humor. You know the sort of movies I'm talking about, right?

The movie makes full use of Zac Efron's body. I'm not at all kidding. He's the leader of the frat with a great body who is almost always shirtless. So for those expecting a certain amount of eye candy from a Zac Efron movie, you're going to go home very, very happy. Plus you throw in various stereotypical frat situations (plus some unusual fund-raising events) and man, it's delightfully hilarious.

The movie doesn't conclude with some forced happy ending either. Normally you'd see such comedies try to find redemption for various characters and have everyone be okay. Here we got an ending that sort of made sense but at least people generally got what they deserved. And yet it was still worth a few laughs.

Neighbors isn't overly complicated - what it is is funny and entertaining. Again, it's not a movie that will change the world, but at the very least you'll have a good time without needing to think about things too much. And there will always be days when we can use movies like this. Thus it gets 4 gratuitous Zac Efron shirtless moments out of a possible 5.

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