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May 9, 2014

Neighbors brings crude laughter from a common comedic formula

— Posted by Ryan

Genre: Comedy Directed by:  Nicholas StollerStarring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac EfronWritten by: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O'Brien

Genre: Comedy
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron
Written by: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien

Synopsis: A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.


Neighbors teams up Zac Efron and Seth Rogen in a film that combines a variety of familiar comedic formulas that incite humor from crude and shocking situations. Like many comedies of this nature, Neighbors has many simplistic elements (plot, character development, etc) keeping the focal point on intermittent moments of laughter. For this type of comedy, this formula has been proven to succeed and achieves its goal in this film as well. The presence of an out of place group (the fraternity) in a common suburban setting is a unique enough plot situation to easily establish the rivalry between Mac (Rogen) and Teddy (Efron) which in turn fuels the majority of the film’s humor by establishing a continuously escalating prank war. Without ruining the fun for everyone, I will say that the pranks continually grow in their levels of extremities and crudeness and the shock value brings about many laugh out loud moments.


What fuels the prank rivalry is an underlying element that is continually touched on throughout the film. Teddy is a glimpse of the life that Mac once had and Mac is a glimpse of what is to come after graduation for Teddy. While this brings about tension from resentment, it also establishes a common ground between them early on. The age and physical differences between the characters are also the other elements of consistent humor in the film. Initially the apparent difference between the physical appearances of Rogen and Efron are humorous but it eventually becomes tiresome, especially the moments where Efron is obviously posing for the camera.

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Rogen and Efron’s physical comparison is a constant joke

The supporting cast establish their own moments of humor and also act as the voice of reason on the opposing sides of the Teddy/Mac rivalry. Rose Byrne has subtle moments of humor that are few and far between but still funny as she randomly involves and distances herself from the rivalry. She was funny in her own way but far from the highlight of the film. Dave Franco on the other hand, is a consistent riot. A moment that I found particularly funny was his scene for the fraternity’s Robert DeNiro themed party. I was hysterically laughing at his spot on impression of DeNiro from Meet the Parents. In other moments his involvement definitely supplemented the fraternity style humor with Zac Efron. If you have seen 21 Jump Street and enjoyed him in that, I think you will definitely enjoy him in Neighbors.

Efron fits the role of fraternity douchebag well

Efron fits the role of fraternity douchebag well

Overall I would say this film was a very formulaic comedy but definitely one that made me laugh. Is it something that you should rush to the theater to see? If you want a good laugh to talk about with your friends then yes, otherwise I don’t think you would be missing out by waiting to rent it (as with many comedies). The point of a comedy is to make you laugh and this is a film that definitely succeeds in that regard. If you enjoy Seth Rogen or any college humor type films then I would recommend this as a comedy to see. And for those of you that require more thought provoking humor, I would say to pass on this film because this is definitely a shock and awe comedy.

Neighbors - 6.5 out of 10

A shock and awe comedy that maintains consistent laughter…

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who has written 330 posts on The Movie Blog

First and foremost, Ryan Brown is a fan. He has been an avid fan of both the theater and cinema since an early age and his passion for both has been continually growing ever since. When dissecting a film, he focuses on all elements of film-making including some fan/cult factors. He believes that character development is the foundation of a good film and usually starts his analysis of a film from there moving forward. His writing style may be influenced by his background of narrative and argumentative studies in the subject, but he tends to enjoy a more conversational style to better interact with the readers, unlike some other pretentious and pompous writers.

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  • Erin

    I saw this movie the other weekend and I loved. It had just the right amount of comedy next with some quirkiness from Mac and Kelly. I would recommend the movie to whoever loves a good comedy that’s not quite like any of the other one out there. It has the typical college fraternity theme but it is very distinctive from others.

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