Movie Review
Neighbors
Neighbors poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published February 8, 2014
US Release: May 9, 2014

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Rose Byrne , Seth Rogen , Zac Efron , Lisa Kudrow

R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout

Domestic Box Office: $150,054,000
B-
11 of 111
I was impressed by its competent tone and direction and I found the movie pretty entertaining and funny at times.
Neighbors has a plot that is very thin but it is cleverly written and well performed and manages to get a decent amount of laughs out of its two hour running time. It stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as a young couple with a baby living in quiet suburbia and are trying to raise their baby just right as new parents. Trouble quickly presents itself when they watch their new neighbors move in right next door, which happen to be a whole house-load of frat-boys, led by Zac Efron and Dave Franco. The frat house presence makes them worried so they introduce themselves and hope that peace can be achieved. After a friendly exchange, the frat house already breaks their rules in levels of noise and trust between them, and the whole movie is about the war between these two houses and the quest of raising a baby.

I didnít expect to like this movie because the trailer didnít really impress me and it looked pretty average, but its circumstance is believable, and I was impressed by its competent tone and direction and I found the movie pretty entertaining and funny at times. Seth Rogen plays the same character he has always played up until now and it still works for him Ė the guy whoís lucky to be with the attractive girl/woman he is with, considering his wildly unattractive physicality. Rose Byrne, known mostly for Bridesmaids, is good here as his partner, and she proves that she can stand tall in a frat-boy comedy. Bridesmaids was not my sensibility but I was surprised at how well she handled the material here. Their chemistry is good and their teamwork of trying to take down the frat-house is very enjoyable to watch.

The two standouts of this comedy are Zac Efron and Dave Franco, the latter being James Francoís brother. I wasnít a fan of Efron before watching this and it completely turned me around on him. Previously he was too much of a darling for pre-teen and teenage girls to worship and I was happy to finally see an R-rated script give him something to work with thatís much edgier and more of a bad-ass. Dave Franco almost steals the show from him and part of the amusement is the eerie physical resemblance between he and his brother, along with his gift in comic timing, which James also has. Franco has a fast mouth and a razor sharp wit, and watching he and Efron interact here was a joy. The writing in the screenplay is the first to thank here, but the performing of the dialogue is impressive. The two actors play the presidents of their frat-house and all the decisions must be granted through them.

Thereís a little bit of Fight Club, but mostly itís a mix of comedies like Road Trip (B-), Old School (B-), and Project X (C+). Thereís nothing profound going on and all it strives to be is an entertaining R-rated comedy and it applies its rating enough to recommend it. The authentic depiction of the frat house life is going to sell well around colleges in the early summer, but whether it can climb up to the strong box office ranks of grosses like Superbad and 21 Jump Street is a good question. It has the upside of appealing to quiet suburban neighborhoods as well as the rowdiness of frat-boy areas, and the combination of the two demographics could push this comedy to $100 million. Thereís no competition yet for R-rated comedies for the beginning of summer and the word of mouth is likely going to be positive, which should help this movie find a solid audience until 22 Jump Street comes around.
Lee's Grade: B-
Ranked #11 of 111 between Top Five (#10) and The Guest (#12) for 2014 movies.
Lee's Overall Grading: 2934 graded movies
A0.4%
B29.6%
C61.9%
D8.1%
F0.0%
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'Neighbors' Articles
  • Craig's review C+
    May 12, 2014    This movie is a lazy, crude-for-the-sake-of-crude bore that does nothing for either actor. -- Craig Younkin
  • Neighbors: Box Office Tracking
    May 8, 2014    Theater bookings are better than they were for Knocked Up and Superbad, and with inflation those weekend figures would be $36.8 and 39.6 million today. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Box Office Outlook: Neighbors
    April 8, 2014    Iím expecting very good legs and I suspect its total is going to land in between $100 and $125 million. -- Lee Tistaert