Saturday, August 23, 2014

Neighbors [A Fat Jesus Quick Hit]

Let's be honest here, Zac Efron gets a lot of heat (here's a wrestling term 11 words in) for his roles in films over the years. But he's honestly not that terrible of an actor and has really grown out of his Disney star phase. When you can pair him with the people he was with in 'Neighbors' you get quite a pleasant performance out of him. All in a movie where you expect people like Seth Rogen, Dave Franco or Rose Byrne to outshine him. Why am I focusing on Zac Efron here? What I wanted to get across is, that even though he is a lead in this film, it shouldn't discourage you from giving this a watch. 'Neighbors' is actually a very fun movie.

'Neighbors' follows the story of Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) who have a newborn daughter, Stella. They are feeling alienated from their old lifestyle and being able to go out with their friends Jimmy and Paula (Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo). One day they notice they have new neighbors moving in, it's a fraternity called Delta Psi Beta. Led by Teddy Sanders and Peter Regazolli (Zac Efron and Dave Franco), the frat aspires to make its mark on Dela Psi Beta's history when they throw their end of the year party. One night, Mac and Kelly ask Teddy if the frat can keep it down. He agrees on the condition, they they never call the cops, but go straight to him. The next night, Mac is unable to get a hold of Teddy to turn the music down and Kelly convinces him to call the police. They try to send an anonymous tip, but the police officer identifies them to Teddy as the people who called it in. This marks the beginning of the ever escalating battle between Delta Psi Beta and The Radner's. 

I wasn't expecting much going into this, mostly because the trailer made this look like a very lackluster comedy. I love Seth Rogen and Dave Franco as well. But Rose Byrne isn't too big of a comedic powerhouse and Zac Efron isn't exactly filling the seats for comedy films either. Everyone surprised me though, as the main four have a fantastic chemistry and the interactions between Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jerrod Carmichael were side spilling at times. Don't get me wrong, Seth Rogen is great and Rose Byrne did a good job, but the biggest laughs this movie got out of me was from that foursome. The acting is fine in 'Neighbors,' for what this movie is, but the comedy is even better and that is what keeps this from being below average or mediocre. The story is quite alright too, it's coherent enough and has a lot more character development than I thought this type of movie would have. The supporting cast is pretty good throughout too as Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Hannibal Buress all play good roles and get time to let their comedic timing shine. The comedy isn't lacking either. It's produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, so it's filled to the brim it recurring gags, great one liners and awesome back-and-forths between almost every main character. There is some draggy parts, some scenes that didn't need to be in there and it might be a tad too long. None of this ruins the overall fun factor of this film, as you'll be hit with some good laughs all throughout this film. 

I really liked 'Neighbors.' It's not the best comedy of the year, but it's one that gets the job done. The story won't win any awards, the acting won't be the best you'll ever see in a comedy, but this is movie you won't feel bad for watching. Seth Rogen is endearing, Zac Efron delivers another solid performance, Dave Franco is getting better and better with each film and it's always nice to have Rose Byrne in a supporting comedic role. 'Neighbors' is just plain fun.

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