Film Review: Bad Neighbours

This review was originally published on the Orange Post on Monday 5th May 2014.

Bad Neighbours certainly has a fine comedy pedigree with Nicholas Stoller (writer of the recent 2 Muppets films and director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall) at the helm, and dependable comedy writers Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg in the producer seats. The good news is that the film (entitled Neighbors in the US) is one of the better comedies in recent years, with star comedy turns from Rose Byrne and Zac Efron.

Mac and Kelly (Rogan and Byrne) are a newlywed couple settling in to their first home with a new baby. Struggling with the loss of their independence and social lives, their peace and quiet is soon disrupted by the purchase of the house next door by college fraternity Delta Psi, led by the all testosterone, no brains Teddy and his second in command, Pete (Dave Franco). Initially the couple attempt to ingratiate themselves as the cool parents next door but it soon turns into an all out war.

There are actually three films I’d be happy to sit through at play here: the generation X parents struggling to hang onto their youth, neighbours at war and frat boy leader Teddy stepping into the adult world where drinking, drugs and the social pecking order of Delta Psi is irrelevant. Combined into one film, I was often distracted by my brain wanting to follow a particular plot further, but the jokes and gags, mostly filthy and bawdy, come so often that you’ll be laughing too much to care (much).

Rogan is his usual teddy bear of a man-child character, but the film is almost stolen by Byrne, who shows remarkable comedy timing. Already tested in the ensemble waters of Get Him to the Greek and Bridesmaids, Byrne proves that she deserves more comedy leads. Zac Efron draws plenty of laughs and pathos as the muscly but rather doughy Teddy. Is there nothing Efron can’t do?

Although the humour may be a little filthy for some, Bad Neighbours is a solid comedy that is all worth your time. In an era where crappy parodies take up too much space in the multiplex, this one deserves attention.

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