Published May 09, 2014Good or bad neighbours can make or break any living situation, but when those neighbours turn out to be a pack of overzealous frat boys living by the YOLO lifestyle, things can go from bad to worse faster than a game of flip cup. Such is the situation for Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne), who find themselves in an all out turf war with a neighbouring fraternity after breaking a promise not to call the cops on them.
Written by Apatow Productions alumni Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien, and directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek), Neighbors takes a simple enough premise but delivers consistent laughs throughout due to its perfect portrayal of love past its prime and overly macho man-children.
Although more mature in character description than in actual practice, Rogen's Radner is the next logical step in his leading man progression from the perma-fried stoners (40-Year Old Virgin, Pineapple Express) and sexually-inexperienced Teddy Bears (Knocked Up) that dominated his early years. As Mac Radner, Rogen seemingly diverts any sense of responsibility onto his wife Kelly, leaving her at home to look after their newborn daughter while he toils a way at a non-descript data entry job alongside his best friend from college. (In fact, when it comes to getting back at their neighbouring frat, it appears Byrne is the only one with a sense of Sun Tzu's teachings, as Rogen's ploys usual end up with an airbag in his office chair or a used condom on their front lawn.) However, what ultimately holds viewers' attention is the couple's comfy (albeit flawed) relationship, which only grows stronger as they fight for some semblance of a normal life in the face the frat's unending keggers and costume parties.
The yin to the Radners' yang is Teddy Sanders (played by High School Musical heartthrob Zac Efron in his second mainstream gross-out comedy of the year). Sanders seemingly has it all: bulging biceps; a bedroom with a built-in bar and closet full of fireworks; and most importantly, the love and adoration of all his disciples. More Van Wilder than Eric Stratton (in academic integrity and good looks), it's hard not to feel for Efron's character as his brotherhood begins to crumble under the weight of Rogen's adult-sized tomfoolery.
The winner of best cameo goes to Christopher Mintz-Plasse who, after stints playing a loveable loser (Superbad's McLovin) and deranged daddy's boy (Kick Ass' Chris D'Amico, a.k.a. The Motherfucker), fully unveils his inner douchebag as the Tyler Hansbrough-esque alpha dog with the elongated dick, Scoonie. With very few lines to speak of, Plasse goes about mugging for the camera in perfect overconfident campus creep fashion.
While not as laugh-out-loud funny as some of the frat pack's recent work, Rogen and co. are their usual charismatic selves, partly because of the level of expertise from each of the actors, but more so due to the realistic portrayal of each of their characters.