Review: Neighbors (2014) Hilarious new comedy with Zac Efron's best performance yet.

May 8, 2014

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NEIGHBORS (2014) Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Franco, Jake Johnson, Carla Gallo. Directed by Nicholas Stoller

After successful films like "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", "Get Him To The Greek", and "The Five-Year Engagement", director Nicholas Stoller continues his winning streak with the hilarious new film "Neighbors".

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play 30ish married couple Mac and Kelly, parents of an adorable six year old named Stella (played by twins Elise and Zoey Vargas). Mac spends his days in a cubicle at a boring job and Kelly spends her day nursing and taking care of the baby. In the evening they try to have spontaneous sex but they're either too tired or too distracted. When their friend Paula (Carlo Gallo) invites them to a rave, they can't find a babysitter so she convinces them to take the baby. Trying to hang on to youth and being cool, the couple think it's a great idea and exclaim "baby's first rave!" but after gathering all the baby's stuff together to take to the rave, they pass out from exhaustion at the front door (funny scene).

When the Delta Psi fraternity moves in to the house next door the couple envisions the worst case scenario, loud parties, music all night long, baby can't sleep, so they come up with a plan to introduce themselves as the cool couple next door and even practice sounding chill and hip while saying "keep it down". When they go over to introduce themselves, Delta Psi president Teddy (Zac Efron in his best performance yet) and his best friend Pete (Dave Franco) invite them to party with the frat. Kelly hangs with the sorority girls telling them cute stories about her hubby while Mac proves he can still hang with the bros by doing mushrooms, smoking weed, drinking alcohol and bonding with Teddy as the two debate the best Batman, Christian Bale versus Michael Keaton. Everyone seems to hit it off and Teddy promises to keep it down but if the frat gets to loud the couple must promise not to call the police just call Teddy first. The very next night the music is blaring, the baby is crying, and after failing to reach Teddy on the cell the couple try to anonymously call the police. When the cops arrive they inform Teddy that Mac called the police and so begins the war between the neighbors.

There are some laugh out loud scenes in this movie as Seth Rogen and Zac Efron go at it against each other but it's Rose Byrne's performance as Kelly that stands out. She can go from mommy mode to scheming, sexy, in your face, hoes over bros mode, in a second and it's hilarious, especially after seeing her as the loving and caring mom in the "Insidious" movies. Comedian Jerrod Carmichael is funny as one of the frat brothers and Lisa Kudrow has a couple of good scenes as the Dean of the college, and I really liked Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo as Mac and Kelly's former couple friends. Of course there are plenty of funny sight gags that involve everything from airbags to sex toys. I'm not sure how much of the film was ad-libbed, I'm guessing a good portion, but whether it was scripted or not, this movie is funny and mass appeal, there seems to be a character that everyone can relate to. It's raw and nasty with a heart.

(3 1/2 stars) *opens nationwide Friday May 8th.