The latest in a long line of frat comedies like Animal House and Van Wilder adds nothing of note to that already intelligence-lacking genre. But where a movie like Old School allows the audience to really sit back and just enjoy the characters' stupidity, (due to the sheer brilliance of someone unique like Will Ferrell), Neighbors brings a whole new kind of stupid, and it is not enjoyable.
Director Nicholas Stoller and stars Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Dave Franco all seem at many points throughout the movie, like they're not even trying. It's clearly a merely paycheck job for them, as they're not at all out to create anything worthwhile, despite what the studios may wish you to believe. Yes, it'll get nonsensical high schoolers and college guys to laugh, because let's face it, the immaturity of the age range beckons for movies like this. It is too bad that the filmmakers couldn't attempt to make something more clever and worthwhile with bits for all audiences to pick out, rather than narrowing the film's appeal to solely one type of audience member.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) move into an average, American, suburban neighborhood, and argue about stereotypical problems young, new parents argue over: being fed up with work (Mac's job is never really clearly defined...it's some sort of cubical office job), being overwhelmed with the baby, and trying to come to the reality that they're no longer 22 and never will be again. As the years continue on, this reality seems harder and harder for them to embrace.
So when the real conflict that charges the film enters—i.e. muscle hunk Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and his merry frat boys, who move in next door to establish the new home of the Delta Psi Beta fraternity house—the Radner's are hesitant in their approach to making the peace with the college troublemakers. They wish to appear cool, as if to convince the Adonis-like Sanders and his followers (and really more to convince themselves) that they've "still got it." It's a re-establishment of the current culture's obsession with youth, or rather, a blurring of the lines between youth and adulthood, and how this 21st century flock of millennial generation folks wish to extend their coolness far beyond the point which age naturally, progressively allows. But then, when did anyone at any point in human history not value youth?
Eventually the conflict of a couple raising a baby and needing sleep and boys who just wanna have fun gets reiterated enough times, and you see them going over there to party all together and get along, and you just don't care after awhile. Yadda, yadda, yadda...why do any of these characters matter to anyone?
The film is a definite pass, not even worth those nights where you want your brain to shut off and are looking for some stupid humor. You're better off throwing Wedding Crashers back on for another round...it's not about college, but that movie just never gets old.