Published Sep 30, 2014The American Dream quickly turns into a nightmare after a group of rowdy frat boys move in next door to young couple Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne), who are new parents to an adorable baby girl and the owners of a beautiful starter home in the suburbs.
So goes the plot of summer comedy Neighbors, directed by Get Him To The Greek's Nicholas Stoller and written by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien. Rogen and Byrne's characters try to navigate through parenting and mundane office jobs while still keeping any scrap of coolness they had in their college years, so when they find out that their new next-door neighbours are a rambunctious group of fraternity brothers headed by the charismatic and often shirtless Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), the couple play along with their new living situation in hopes of keeping their youthfulness and to maintain a good neighbourly relationship. The situation quickly turns sour when the couple calls the authorities to stop their wild and raucous parties.
The result is a series of shenanigans that includes exploding airbags, water leaks and a nasty condom thrown onto the front lawn, and the film remains funny throughout without ever getting stale. What keeps the simple storyline of a neighbourly dispute interesting is largely thanks to the comedic pairing of Rogen and Byrne. Rogen, who's most known for playing the slacker-stoner type in films like Knocked Up and Pineapple Express, is great as the straight man, and it's refreshing to see him playing a protective father. Byrne, on the other hand, who's known for her work in comedies such as Bridesmaids and Get Him To The Greek, goes all out in her mama bear role, unleashing her vengeance on those who get in the way of her precious baby's sleep.
That isn't to say the supporting cast isn't impressive, too. Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo are hilarious as the couple's less mature best friends who just so happen to be divorcees, while Efron effectively plays up his role as the charming president of a fraternity. It also helps that he has a perfect six-pack. (Or as Rogen's Mac would say: "It's like gay scientists designed him in a lab!")
The rest of the frat-boys rounding out the film also steal scenes too. Dave Franco, the nerdy sidekick of Efron's Sanders, has an outrageous scene in which he gives himself an instant erection. Christopher Mintz-Plasse gets a departure from his usual dorky roles, playing a student with an abnormally sized penis that preys on older women.
But despite the lewd humour that goes with some of the extreme pranks that take place in the film, what Neighbors gets right is the fear of growing old and boring. Byrne and Rogen's couple effectively serves as a foil to a group of college boys relishing their youth, and the movie ultimately shows that there's more to life than booze, partying and hooking up.
The DVD is pretty generous when it comes to bonus features. The Blu-ray disc comes with an exclusive alternative opening, explaining the mystery of why the fraternity must treat their stash of fireworks with care.
Rounding out the featurettes is a gag reel and interviews with the cast and crew about how the film came together. The big take-away is how such a great bromance was formed between such an unlikely pair as Rogen and Efron.