Neighbors

Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne lead the cast of Neighbors, a comedy about a young couple suffering from arrested development who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby.

My Thoughts: Yes, Zac Efron looks like someone a gay guy would create in a laboratory. I mean, obviously. But beyond that, Efron displays a sense of humor and a vulnerability that has been lacking in his major roles to date. That’s the most welcome news out of a lot of positive notes I have on the cast of Neighbors. Following up, there’s Seth Rogen’s role as a father to a newborn. He’s done this before, in a way; his breakout role in Knocked Up was also a new father by the end. Neighbors, though, shows how Rogen has actually grown as an actor and a performer in general since Knocked Up‘s release. As his wife, Rose Byrne shows a lot of the comedic promise she first displayed with Bridesmaids. Given the film’s focus on Rogen and Efron, Byrne is not only able to keep up; she surpasses them plenty of times during the film.

As far as the rest of the film goes, it’s easily one of the funniest comedies from a major studio that I’ve seen in the past few years. A lot of that can be attributed to its runtime. Rather than going for the 2+ hour runtime that a lot of comedies in the Apatow vein attempt, Neighbors clocks in under 100 minutes. Instead of milking every possible joke (though there is an extended scene involving milking that’s played for laughs), the film moves along at a brisk enough pace to benefit the film as a whole. It’s a smart move that pays off. What also pays off is how the film steers clear of stereotypes. The older couple aren’t that much older, and in some cases are about as irresponsible as their frat neighbors. The frat members, meanwhile, are more complex than your standard partiers.

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