Review: Neighbors (2014) – Nicholas Stoller

neighbors_xlgNeighbors: Directed by Nicholas Stoller

From IMDB: A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.

– Of Nicholas Stoller’s first three films (FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, GET HIM TO THE GREEK, THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT), I’m a big fan of two of them.  GET HIM TO THE GREEK just had too much Russell Brand for me to handle, but maybe one day I’ll give it another try.

– What I like so much about FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT is that they’re not just comedies.  They both have their funny moments, but there’s also an interesting storyline with characters who have a lot of depth.  Going into NEIGHBORS I was a little nervous about the plot.  I’m not a fan of ‘college’ type humour and from the trailers it seemed like that was what the film was all about.

– Comparing it to the two films I liked by Stoller, it definitely has a much weaker storyline.  A lot of the scenes were very familiar from watching the trailer and there isn’t much depth to any of the characters.

– Right from the get-go we’re introduced to the baby.  For a little baby who had no idea what was going on throughout the filming process, she added some great comedy and laughs to the film.  She’s really cute and made the funniest facial expressions, especially when Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are saying and doing inappropriate things in front of her.

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– A strong part of the film is the chemistry between Rogen and Byrne, who play the married couple.  Their characters are just beginning a new life with their newborn baby, but having the frat house right next door is a roadblock preventing them from moving on in life.

– Everyone knows how funny Seth Rogen is, but this film will do great things for the career of Rose Byrne.  Her performance in BRIDESMAIDS was no fluke and she takes advantage of a bigger role in this.  She’s perfect and funny next to Seth Rogen, which is no easy task.

– I’m not a fan of Zac Efron.  Whenever he’s in a film, all I see is Zac Efron.  He doesn’t ‘become’ characters.  He’s actually not bad in this, but his friend in the film, played by Dave Franco, is a lot better.  He’s such an underrated comedic actor.

– The weirdest thing about NEIGHBORS was the use of (or lack of use of) Christopher Mintz-Plasse.  He’s such a recognizable actor who is known to be hilarious, but I can’t think of one moment where he gets to shine in this.  He’s completely underused, which was a big mistake.

Neighbors-film-zac-and-dave

Neighbors was a bit of a disappointment.  I was hoping it would be a bit smarter than just ‘college humor’, but for the most part, that’s what it is.  There are some funny moments however, thanks to Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, and the little baby.  Unlike FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT, there’s not much depth to the characters or the story, and that was my biggest problem with the film.

NEIGHBORS: 6.5/10

 

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