It is Rogen verses Efron. And in this battle, we, the audience are the winners.
After his let down performance in That Awkward Moment, I was a bit wary when walking into this film. I wasn’t sure if Efron could compete with Rogen in the “real” battle at hand. Which star can generate more laughs? And would Zac Efron offer more to the story than just his chiseled abs and deep blue eyes? Well folks, I’m here to tell you that Zac Efron not only proves that himself as a genuine comedic actor, he is also able to hold his own against Seth Rogen. At times, he is even funnier than the Knocked Up star himself.
The more I think about this movie, the more I appreciate the whole premise. Such a simple idea/nightmare has made for a truly fantastic laugh out loud comedy.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) have just moved into the perfect home with their beautiful new born baby. Kelly is a stay at home mom who gets to spend all day with baby Stella. Mac works a 9-5 desk job that he tries to endure with a little bit of help from “Mary Jane.” Their days are starting to feel routine, and they are unable to go out because of the baby. It’s beginning to feel stagnant for the new parents. But all that changes when we hear the sound of the boisterous fraternity that has moved in next door. In hopes of keeping this a quiet neighborhood for their little girl, the couple head to the frat’s first rowdy party. What was supposed to be a quick noise complaint visit turned into a refreshing night out for Mac and Kelly. And after having what will probably be remembered as the best debate over “who is Batman,” Teddy and Mac form a bond and an understanding of trust is made. Unfortunately that trust is broken within 24 hours, and leads to an epic war between the two houses.
It is hard to even pick a side because both leaders of the house are written as such likeable characters. On one hand, you have a new father trying to prove to his wife and himself that he can handle being the responsible one, while still being cool. Then you have the devoted frat president who spends way too much time partying, and caring about the mark he leaves behind in his brotherhood rather than thinking about the real world that is ahead of him.
Neighbors is not just carried by their two stars. This film has a strong supporting comedic cast filled with even better cameos. Rose Byrne is the perfect mix of wit and wholesome beauty. Dave Franco plays Teddy’s Vice President, Pete, and shares great chemistry with his fraternity brother. Young Franco is easily following in the footsteps of his talented, successful older brother; and I look forward to seeing him in many more projects, hopefully in leading roles. A shout out also goes to The Mindy Project’s co-writer and cast member, Ike Barinholtz. Like on his sitcom, Barinholtz’s role as Rogen’s best friend may not be huge, but produces enough chuckles to make him memorable.
What is most satisfying about Neighbors is how it is more than just a hilarious slapstick comedy. There is heart and a sense of authenticity. A lot of us are afraid to grow up. It can feel as though we will be missing out on “the party,” when in reality, your life and how you choose to live it can be the most legendary party that never ends.
Neighbors hits theaters May 9.