Neighbors – Zac Efron Becomes Matthew McConaughey – Review

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Photo Courtesy Universal

Little Zacky Efron is all grown up in Neighbors!  Watching the movie’s ads (and the picture you see above), some would say he is this generation’s Amazingly Shirtless Matthew McConaughey.  The torch has been passed.

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star as Mac and Kelly – a married couple and new parents struggling with growing older and the need to become responsible adults.  While they seem to crave their wild and crazy college years, all of that is about to be tested when the house next door to theirs is put up for sale.

Because we wouldn’t have a movie without this twist, the house next door is purchased by a rowdy fraternity led by Teddy (Zac Efron and his Six Pack Abs) and Pete (Dave Franco).   These college boys want to leave their mark on Frat history, and hope to do something innovative and memorable in the annals of partying, but Mac and Kelly, no matter how much they want to prove they are cool, can’t stand the noise and commotion, which starts a massive war between the two opponents.

Will the Frat prevail?

Can Mac and Kelly win peace in the neighborhood?

Neighbors has some funny moments, but it’s not a great movie.   Sure, it’s a good premise, but the film doesn’t come together narratively as well as it needs to, nor do the characters develop in a positive way that serves the story these writers want to tell.

Writers Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien make it hard to sympathize with any character, which wouldn’t be a problem if they kept the movie as outrageous as it gets at times.  We wouldn’t have to worry about liking anyone if this was a total, no holds barred farce, but it’s not.

Cohen, O’Brien and director Nicholas Stoll want to play the sympathy card, but make it hard to like anyone.  Mac and Kelly are the worst parents ever captured on film as they act as idiotically as the college kids, and show a great disregard for their own baby’s well being.  Yet, the audience is supposed to assume they have matured when it matters to the plot, even though we have seen no sign of growth or maturity.

Then, Cohen and O’Brien should have kept the plot centered on unending vindictiveness.  Two or three times during Neighbors, it seems like the war between the Frat and the adults has been resolved, but director Stoller looked at his watch and realized they still have to fill another hour in the movie, so we have to restart the war again for no good reason other than lengthening the movie.  It leaves Neighbors to be more a series of gags instead of well told story.

You will laugh at many of the antics in Neighbors, but telling the story should be just as important.

1_5waffles_sml1 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

Neighbors is rated R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout.



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