An epic ‘neighbor’ war between Seth Rogen and Zac Efron

by Alek Sanchez

Frathouse comedies have always been the source of good times and good laughs, from “Animal House” to “Old School.” Now, “Neighbors” is ready to throw its hat in the ring.

“Neighbors” follows newlyweds Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) as they adjust to life in a new home with their new baby. The honeymoon period comes crashing to a halt when their newfound neighbors turn out to be a rowdy and raucous fraternity, Delta Sigma Psi, led by their charming president, Teddy (Zac Effron), and VP, Pete (Dave Franco). Mac and Kelly aim to come across as the “cool” neighbors, even welcoming the fraternity with a celebratory joint. The two households share a crazy night and get the first evening off to a good start. But the constant partying and blasting of music isn’t exactly an ideal setting to raise a child, and Mac and Kelly end up calling the cops on Delta Sigma Psi. From that point on, it’s full-on war.

The narrative is passable, at-best. But all is forgiven once the shenanigans start. The pranks begin small and escalate to hilarious extents that keep the film fresh and memorable. Without spoiling too much, “Neighbors” constantly surprised me, juking out the obvious movie tropes for top-notch rivalry banter.

Effron is just as loveable as he is a d—–ag and commands the screen presence as the frat president who’s just not ready to quit the party lifestyle. There are some poignant moments featuring Effron, and though they’re cleverly masked with humor, “Neighbors” is a modern take on the fraternity lifestyle, and featuring those who get lost in all the booze and debauchery. Rogen takes a step out of his typical pot-and-penis personality, and is just as fun to watch in his role as a new concerned father. Paired with Rogen, Byrne’s character ramps up the deviancy and as a scene stealing, sultry and protective mama bear. “Neighbors” is surprisingly full of cameos and characters with few but hilarious scenes. Spoiler alert ahead. The cast of “Workaholics,” The Lonely Island, Lisa Kudrow, and Hannibal Buress are just a few people who pop-up.

Hopefully the film comes out with deleted scenes, gag-reels and unrated featurettes to boot with the DVD release, as it feels like a lot of scenes were cut from the theatrical version.

“Neighbors” is a silly movie with a simple plot. But in the end, that doesn’t really matter when you’re crying from laughter beginning to end.

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Courtesy of Glen Wilson/Universal Pictures/MCT