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Neighbors: Generic Title, Apparently Generic Premise; Entertaining Execution

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Neighbors (movie)

Rating:
Star4
Star
Star
Star
Star

There have been a few clash of the generations comedies in the past (and well as new parent comedies and frat comedies). Some of them try to beat the audience over the head with the messages and what is supposed to be funny. Date Night, for example, felt the need to beat a dead horse of the fact that a couple’s sex life just isn’t what it used to be when they have children. Grownups was even worse and beating the audience over the head with the jokes that were supposed to be funny, it even felt a constant need to explain the punch lines. Neighbors succeeds where so many other “comedies” fail because it seamlessly blends the jokes with the story and allows the audience to decide what is funny.
It’s a good ‘popcorn’ movie that gives people the option to think about the messages or to simply be entertained. Sure the humor gets somewhat raunchy at points during the film. Yes just about every character commits an act that will bite them in the butt and makes the audience cringe and facepalm. The characters somehow manage to not be completely obnoxious (and there’s an absolutely adorable baby). They all have personal epiphanies, where the filmmakers have faith that the audience is intelligent enough to understand (they certainly don’t stop the flow of the film for the people who aren’t paying attention or who don’t get messages that aren’t spelled out for them. The acting, writing, directing and editing are all done well enough that people will be entertained regardless of whether or not they see the embedded messages).
Seth Rogen may “play the same person in every film he does,” but his humor is understated and dry enough that he doesn’t overwhelm the scenes he’s in. He plays off the other people in the scenes rather than playing at them. He’s great in this film. His character may have a case of arrested development, but it’s not over the top. Rose Byrne further proves her diversity as an actress in this film. She was funny and likeable. Women can hold their own with men on the screen, but often aren’t allowed to because stories are often either written by men who don’t know how to write women, or women who can sell a story, but not tell one. Zac Efron was also great. He’s a former Disney star, who hasn’t been trying too hard to shed his Disney image (therefore becoming more of a gimmick than a good entertainer). People see this film won’t be reminded of his “High School Musical” or "Hairspray" days. They will just find his performance hilarious (in a good way).
This writer won’t actively seek out or pre-order the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, but she may pick it up at the grocery store if she has the cash. She will probably even recommend it to friends looking for a laugh.

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