Quasi-Grown Ups: Neighbors
“I love going to The Container Store and buying containers!”
Comedy is constantly evolving. Is it because the shock factor constantly needs to be pushed a little further, or because the things we once found funny grow stale and tired? I’m not really sure, although, one thing I’ve noticed is that comedy I once found hilarious, I can barely stand anymore. The Apatow Gang seems to realize this issue, and instead of continually delivering comedies that fit the mold of what was funny 6 years ago, they evolve with their audience. This also may simply be that Seth Rogen, Jason Siegel, Jonah Hill, and Paul Rudd are my generation of comedic actors. When Knocked Up was released, I was in the stage of “Holy s*** having a baby would be crazy!”; likewise, when I Love You Man came out I was in the stage of “Holy s*** getting married is stressful!”. So naturally, now that being married and having a baby seem like totally normal possibilities, Neighbors comes along to deliver more comedy solely designed for us quasi-grown ups. And as a member of that target audience, I can say this thing is a total success.
OK, first I have to point out Judd Apatow had nothing to do with this movie, other than, you know… starting Seth Rogen’s career by casting him in Freaks and Geeks, and then pretty much every movie he ever made. This movie was produced by Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg, who are responsible for just almost every funny movie made in the last 10 years.
Rogen and Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) play Mac and Kelly, a newlywed couple who have just had their first baby and recently purchased their first real home together. I was surprised by the casting of Byrne, because I’ve never really seen her as a likable character, but she nails this role, completely dropping the fake American bull**** and playing her Australian self. So next, the worst thing I can possibly think of happens, Delta Psi Beta moves in next door. That’s all the set up this movie needs, but it doesn’t really do what you’d expect. For instance, instead of just being a complete tit-for-tat type of movie, there is a decent amount of Rogen and Byrne actually enjoying their new neighbors, and this takes the movie to interesting places. Which helps hammer home the film’s main theme: balance between the guilt of growing up and wanting to stay inside and do nothing V.S. the desire to want to be young and adventurous.
The premise is also a sneaky way to appeal to another target audience: young frat dudes. And while there are some insanely funny moments in this movie, there is an almost instant cringe factor that sets in as you start to imagine how these things will be yelled across college campuses for years to come. VERY NIIIIIICCCCEEE </boratvoice>.
The main frat dudes are played by Zach Efron and Dave Franco. Franco is his usual self in this role, which is by no means a bad thing, unfortunately, I was too blown away by how great of a performance Zach Efron was giving to care much. I really had no idea this guy could be likable or funny- but he pulls off both with ease. I don’t want to ruin any of the jokes, but one particular favorite is a scene where the fraternity is having a Robert DeNiro party. After everyone starts yelling like Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, Efron, fully clad in Taxi Driver regalia gets everyone inquiring of Rogen: “Are you talking to me?… I don’t see anyone else here”. This scene had me dying.
In the end, Neighbors is a surprisingly fresh comedy. Which says a lot for a premise that seems so generic it had me really iffy about this whole thing to start with. The film blends elements of spontaneity and off-the-cuff charm that add a layer of realism. Such as when Rogen and Efron are fighting and end up on a water bed, prompting Rogen to start screaming “Who still has a water bed? they are so weird!”. Ultimately, it’s just a funny movie, that rapidly fires through 95 minutes of frat house dildo slapping and huge-titted wife milking. In that time it doesn’t try to accomplish much more than to say frats are stupid and staying at home with your wife if awesome.
My kind of movie.
#QuasiGrown #Ups #Neighbors