Review: Neighbours (2014, Nicholas Stoller)

maxresdefaultRATING: 7/10

Director: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Ika Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Halston Sage
Screenplay: Andrew J. Cohen & Brendan O’Brien

Though it may seem that Seth Rogen is a very limited actor, it doesn’t actually mean that he is a bad one. Rogen, who loves to do the same old thing in his movies (a lot of dork with a lot of heart), always finds a way to make it work. He became a star draw based on his personality, his style of acting which sounds a little bit improvised, and his power to always be in well received comedies which are actually good films. He, along with a fun ensemble is the true heart of “Neighbours”, which will keep you laughing from start to end.

Revolving around Rogen’s character Mac, and his wife Kelly (played to comic perfection by Rose Byrne) we explore what it’s like to live beside a noisy, testosterone-filled, party-loving fraternity. This fraternity, is headed by no other then everyone’s favourite Hollywood teen idol Zac Efron, and up and coming comic actor Dave Franco. It then becomes a cat and mouse game of who will move out first: the couple with the new born baby or the fraternity with goals of “greatness”. The four principle cast members make most of their time and provide us with numerous laughs that’ll simply make you feel good. The film doesn’t pretend to be anything else and that’s why the gags  work so well.

Rogen, who I believe will probably be remembered most for his comedy stylings when this generation is over with the movies (he doesn’t only act, but he’s written some of the funnies films of the new millennium) is always so joyful to watch. Seeing Rose Byrne in a comedy once again (I was a huge fan of her performance in 2011’s “Bridesmaids”) is refreshing. Her act isn’t only full of humour but also sex appeal and true acting. She makes her character her own, in what may have been a very limited role.

Unfortunately for Franco, who’s “21 Jump Street” (2012) douchebag was a highlight for me, he was simply overshadowed by Zac Efron who I believe had the meatiest role. Though Franco did well enough, Zac Efron was really the one who surprised me. His role fit him like a glove, and not in the “he’s buff and everyone loves him so he’s perfect for a frat guy” sort of way, but it was Efron’s scenes of anger and self torment which really showed his acting abilities. I’m not saying his performance was a fully realized one, but it certainly isn’t one that should be overlooked. I don’t think he’s ever been better in a film!

The writing was great. Funny jokes of sexual nature with a lot of quips on revenge. However, it’s Nicholas Stoller’s direction which made the film’s subject matter rise to it’s true potential. Stoller is one of those new director’s who knows comedies well (except for that dud “The Five Year Engagement”) and he doesn’t only know how to photograph a great humorous film, but the language of his movies are fast paced and very intriguing to me. As a big fan of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (2008) and this, he’s certainly one I’ll watch out for!

Though the film can’t really be considered to be high art, there’s a lot (and I mean A LOT) of great laughs and moments that come out of “Neighbours”. It’s certainly a film that should be seen on a bad day. It deserves its “sleeper hit” status.


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