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'Neighbors' review: Finagling morality

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"Neighbors" will be released theatrically this Friday.

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Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) has been considered the most adult of his friends and co-workers. Mac is married while he and his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) not only have a new baby, but just purchased a new house as well. Mac is a family man with an actual home and at his age automatically means he's the definition of "old." Mac and Kelly are highly anticipating who their next door neighbors will be, but are a little less enthused when a college fraternity moves in.

While Mac and Kelly struggle with being responsible parents they also try to hang onto the fact that they're still cool. After trying to bond with the fraternity president Teddy (Zac Efron) and vice president Pete (Dave Franco), the thirty-something-year-old couple violates an unwritten code of trust when they call the cops on the out-of-control college students. It not only becomes a competition of who will move out first, but a no holds barred war between a desperate family and a stubborn fraternity.

"Neighbors" is a typical Seth Rogen movie. It's Rogen getting high with his friends and getting into ridiculous antics because of it. Depending on whether or not you've enjoyed Rogen's previous films will likely weigh in on how much you enjoy "Neighbors." It's also from director Nicholas Stoller; the man who brought us films like "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Get Him to the Greek." So strap yourselves in for another R-rated stoner comedy because "Neighbors" isn't much more than that.

The humor in the film tends to vary between flat out silliness, absurd conversations while being high, and crude behavior that usually involves graphic nudity. The film opens with Mac and Kelly trying to break in their new living room by having sex in it yet can't because their baby keeps staring at them. Other hysterical moments include Mac and Kelly falling asleep while trying to bring their baby to a rave, the Batman conversation between Mac and Teddy, Pete's secret ability, and the importance of shaving downstairs.

Much of the film is devoted to the couple trying to one-up the fraternity and vice versa. Mac and Kelly are always shown trying to hype themselves up before attempting to do anything. Their long, drawn out conversations are often more humorous than the event itself. There's also an emphasis on certain phrases being repeated over and over again in order for the designated side to move on with their next retaliation; "bro's before ho's" is the best example.

What's interesting is that the comedy at least attempts to show the human side of things from both the frat and family perspectives. Neither side ever really has the advantage, so the resolution feels like it could go either way at any time. Both sides start to crumble internally as the brotherhood mentality begins to falter within the fraternity while the married couple starts to have marital issues.

"Neighbors" is an amusing pissing contest between obnoxious people who live next to one another that lasts for an hour and a half. It's almost like if "Old School" was told from the perspective of Vince Vaughn's character. Nevertheless, "Neighbors" is incredibly entertaining and even uproarious at times. It's the type of comedy that makes your lungs ache and your cheeks sore from laughing so much.


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