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article imageReview: ‘Neighbors’ refreshes the fraternity rivalry Special

By Sarah Gopaul     May 8, 2014 in Entertainment
‘Neighbors’ is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. A noisy fraternity moves into a pleasant community, particularly upsetting a young couple who take action.
There are a few traditional rites of passage that mark becoming an adult: starting a career, getting married, having a baby and buying a home. Nowadays not everyone does all or any of these. But buying a house is usually the largest purchase you'll ever make so you want it to be as close to prefect as possible — and that usually includes the people who live around you. In Neighbors, a couple's ideal starter home is threatened by the appearance of a fraternity house next door.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) just moved into their first house in an attractive neighbourhood that seems like a wonderful place to raise their infant daughter. When the vacant house next to them is sold, they're curious to see the new neighbours. They never expected a rowdy group of college kids kicked off of campus and forced to move their frat to a nearby area. Both sides think befriending the other will limit conflict so Delta Psi Beta's president Teddy (Zac Efron) invites the couple to a party and they reciprocate by offering weed. But a breach of trust turns into all-out war and neither side is willing to yield.
In some ways, this is a more confrontational and modernized version of The 'Burbs. Mac and Kelly drag their best friends (Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo) into their schemes to sabotage and thus get rid of the frat. They sneak around with walkie-talkies, causing expensive damages and encouraging further infractions against municipal and college law. Conversely, the young men retaliate in the style of movie fraternities before them — with immature but hilarious pranks and solutions that include intimate moulds and inappropriate uses for airbags.
Obviously the premise of taking this fight to the mat, especially with the welfare of a child at stake, is ridiculous — even if the parents are longing to reclaim a little pre-baby excitement. But it's these extremes that deliver laugh-out-loud entertainment. The secondary, more sombre story about life after college and two friends drifting apart is fairly negligible and acts as almost a hindrance to enjoying the outlandishness of the rest of the narrative. All that was required was a straight-up, outrageous comedy that utilized the improv abilities of its actors and otherwise relied on the relatively clever script.
Zac Efron in  Neigbors
Zac Efron in 'Neigbors'
Universal Studios
Efron is becoming quite adept at playing the charismatic jerk in movies. His second most important contribution to the film is as eye candy, playing scenes shirtless and simply looking buff throughout. Rogen's perpetual man-child is once again given free reign as he seamlessly toes the line between responsible father and vengeful adolescent. Even though the guys’ idiocy tends to take centre stage, Byrne doesn’t get pushed to the sidelines. She is a full and entertaining participant and orchestrator that rolls with the best of them.
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron
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