Jake’s Takes: Neighbors

A close look at a supposedly modern “comedy”

By now I’m sure you’ve seen an advertisement for Director Nicholas Stoller’s new comedy with Zac Efron and Seth Rogen playing the roles of feuding neighbors. While the film definitely did not exceed the high expectations I had going  as I sat down it to watch, it was decently funny and had just enough laughs to make it worth watching.

In the film, Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) have recently bought a house in a nameless suburban city so that they can settle down and raise their six-month-old daughter, Stella. But soon, the fraternity Delta Psi moves in next door.

Initially President Teddy (Zac Efron) and Vice President Pete (Dave Franco) are nice to Mac and Kelly in hopes that they won’t call the cops during their future parties. All is well until Mac calls the cops one night, and you can probably deduce from the commercials what ensues thereafter.

Unlike many of his other performances, Seth Rogen lacks his quirky, signature humor in this somewhat disappointing film, as does Rose Byrne. The two are supposed to be a bit dorky, but they take it too far and miss being goofy and lovable and are simply annoying at times. The film also did not need a scene involving Rogen, Byrne, and breast milk. I’ll leave it at that.

The real laughs come from the fraternity brothers. Zac Efron and Dave Franco are well casted and hilarious.

“It didn’t hurt that they took their shirts off a lot,” sophomore Katya Sigal said. “[But] It was kind of predictable.”

Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Ike Barinholtz also deliver notable performances.

Despite the film’s flaws, which almost all involve Rogen and Byrne, there are some powerful messages. For example, Pete is thinking about his future after college and already interviewing for jobs while Teddy is unable to move on with his life and desperate to leave his mark, a point many of us can relate to. Also, while it is pointed out way too many times,  Mac and Kelly relentlessly attempt to convince themselves that they are not getting old as they move on with their lives, a fear almost everyone has.

In short, the film is decent. If you like Zac Efron or Dave Franco, go see it. A lot of the funny moments in the film are shown in the trailer, but not all of them. Just don’t expect it to be the comedy of the year.