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Bad Neighbours – Review


Release Date: 9 May 2014 [USA]
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Andrew J. Cohen - Brendan O'Brien
Cast: Seth Rogen - Rose Byrne - Zac Efron - Brian Huskey - Dave Franco



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Posted May 28, 2014 by

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Bad Neighbours Review:

Directed by Nicholas Stoller, the comedy mind behind the likes of Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, whilst penned by Andrew J. Cohen, and Brendan O’Brien of The 40-Year-Old Virgin fame, it’s easy to get a clear idea of what brand of comedic twists and turns to expect from Bad Neighbours (or just ‘Neighbors’ if you’re reading from across the pond). Indeed there was the usual projectile vomiting, out of control college parties and, in true The Hangover style, the cringe-inducing involvement of blissfully unaware babies. However, despite all these shared plot devices with previous comedies of the decade, one thing stopped this film from being a one-trick pony.

Now let the casting come into play. Bad Neighbours stars Seth Rogen (Knocked Up), Rose Byrne (Insidious), Zac Efron (17 Again) and Dave Franco (Now You See Me) – a strong cast which would pull in audiences through star power alone. The plot is simple, but with the above names starring, it is guaranteed to have you chuckling – if not always for the right reasons! New parents Mac and Kelly Radner (Rogen and Byrne) are struggling to balance their new responsibilities with their nostalgia for the wild partying, pot-smoking, amorous nights of their old lifestyle. Having made the decision to prioritise little Stella, and put their rebellious days behind them, a spanner is thrown in the works when a raucous fraternity, Delta Psi Beta headed by Teddy (Efron) and loyal second-in-command Pete (Franco) move in next-door.

After multiple noise complaints go ignored and the ol’ ‘if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em just leaves them beat, the Radners resort to alerting the police, who in turn place the frat on party-hiatus. So begins all-out war between the neighbours as each tries to covertly force the other to move out, using every trick in the book, plus some new ones! Using the crude and bawdy humour we’d expect – the Al Pacino scene? Gold. – along with the genre-favourite of the generational culture clash, what is it that makes Bad Neighbours that extra bit watchable? Having earned mostly favourable responses from all sides and earning £49mil during its opening weekend in North America alone, Stoller and co. have hit gold somewhere along the way. My inclination is that it is the film’s two loveable front men who have not only stolen the audience’s hearts, but, when pitted against each other; have also induced many a belly-laugh from viewers, securing Bad Neighbours’ place in this year’s comedy successes.

Aside from his obvious comedic talent, Seth Rogen just oozes normality. Appearance and behaviour alike, he’s the kind of chap you can see yourself being next to in the queue at the shop or sharing a beer with at a BBQ. This approachability, this anti-hero demeanour has marked him as a fan favourite in the genre, and perfect for the-guy-next-door roles such as this. Alongside him, Efron, chiselled like a Michelangelo statue. Whilst no doubt cast due to his all-American teen devil-may-care actions and model-like appearance; his character of Teddy is no villainous snob, his frat-boy actions fuelled by a sense of obligation to make history with his fraternity, restoring it to its former partying glory. This performance perhaps comes down to Efron, like Rogen, simply coming across as a genuinely nice guy. Whilst he will struggle to leave behind his Disney beginnings, that same past – along with the fact he hasn’t gone down the Miley Cyrus or Lyndsey Lohan path – has earned him a soft spot in the hearts of viewers. It makes the final scenes of Bad Neighbours that little bit more satisfying.

Without listing all the pranks whose shock-factor is key to their delivery, I can tell you that whilst Bad Neighbours doesn’t have an intricate plot or a cast as diverse as the new Anchorman, its compact and chemistry-laden cast carry the film superbly, providing a laugh or at least a comedy-induced-cringe a minute! Yes, it’s crude. Yes, it’s immature. As a Brit, my mind boggles at the mere idea of fraternities and their crazy inductions and stunts. But if you’re a fan of this brand of humour, and especially a fan of Rogen’s, then you can’t go wrong with this film. Go ahead and watch, then thank the Gods for the nice, quiet elderly couple living next door.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 20.58.44

Becca Spackman
Freelance Contributor


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