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Movie Review: Neighbors: A comedic misfire that was ruined by its trailers



Neighbors is a haphazard, borderline snooze fest. It’s an unspectacular comedy that pits one generation against another in a no holds barred confrontation for the control of a neighborhood. A fraternity moves into the house next door and throws wild parties, a suburban couple fights to shut them down. The movie stars Seth Rogan (This Is The End), Zac Efron (Parkland), Rose Byrne (Insidious Chapter 2), Lisa Kudrow (Easy A), Dave Franco (21 Jump Street), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick Ass 2), Jerrod Carmicheal, Halston Sage (Grown Ups 2), Carla Gallo (We Bought A Zoo), and Ike Barinholtz (Vampires Suck).
Neighbors fails to break into that classic comedy film or summer breakout comedy hit. The movie’s biggest downfall is the advertising campaign that the film used to market the movie. The trailers have given away so much of the movie that Neighbors almost feels like a second viewing. There was far too much of the best comedic moments were given away in the trailers, ads, and commercials that there isn’t much left to laugh at. Neighbors’ feels like you are connecting the scenes to the ones that are advertised. Secondly, the story behind Neighbors isn’t that good. In essence, the movie is just one a series of the back and forth confrontations between Rogan, Byrne, and the fraternity. There’s little to no substance in between the scenes. While it tries to mix in a theme about maturity, family, and friendship, it speeds thru the scenes far too fast so that we never get the chance to care about either set of characters; the family or the members of the fraternity.
The humor of Neighbors comes in waves. It’s an extremely frustrating watch as it teeters between boring to hilarious and then back to crickets. The best hijinks were robbed by the trailers leaving not enough to keep the film entertaining. In addition, a lot of it is very slapstick and adolescent focused. The slapstick isn’t that good and the others are too teen focused to truly be funny. For every minute that there is a good joke, it’s quickly followed by a series of bland utterly humorless attempts to build on that prior one.
Seth Rogan’s character isn’t that much different than any of his others. While Rogan has a talent for comedy, he does not have the diversity for the roles he writes. This character is just another mundane one that would be better suited for another actor. Zac Efron isn’t much better. Rose Byrne actually does well in the movie. Byrne is more known for her serious roles; however, she does show that she has a talent for comedy. She is the balance between Rogan’s bland, redundant character and Efron’s testosterone based portrayal. Ike Barinholtz as Jimmy makes the most of his limited minutes as he is clearly a bright spot in the film
Neighbors may be the biggest victim in movie history of its own ad campaign. The Rogan vs Eforn confrontation that is at the heart of the film fizzles and isn’t as nearly as enjoyable as it appeared in the trailers. Consequently, the film isn’t all bad. It has quite a few scenes that will really get your comedic jones kicking. It just doesn’t have enough to offset what the commercials killed. The film is missing that one character that summer comedies need to make it memorable. It doesn’t have a Mr.Chou (Ken Jeong, The Hangover) or a Megan (Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids), or a Brick (Steve Carril, Anchorman) that helps to make the film more likable. It will most likely find better success on video than it did in the theaters.