Have you ever had a crazy neighbour? Perhaps YOU are the crazy neighbour…you know, the one with 40 stray cats and won’t hesitate to call the popo to let you know that your party is out of control because the music is barely audible over your 10 foot wall. Being a bad neighbour is a matter of perspective and Bad Neighbours misses the opportunity to explore this angle and instead delves into the same crude, uninspired comedic routine that plagues the box office today.
Mac and Kelly (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne) are happily married with a newborn child, living in charming middle-class American suburbia. But trouble begins to brew when a fraternity moves into the home next-door to them. Aware of the potential antics of the juvenile party-animals, the couple decides to be as accommodating as possible but still inform the fraternity president (Zac Efron) that they value their beauty sleep. When the fraternity disregard their warning, all hell begins to break loose and all-out war ensues between the two camps.
The creators of Bad Neighbors know exactly who will watch this movie – the same people who wasted their money on tickets to Project X – if you enjoyed that film or like frat-boy comedies, book a ticket for the opening matinee. But be forewarned, not all films with “Bad” in their title are actually good.
The Bottom Line
It’s something of an oddity to see an on-screen character that is a reflection of what you’d imagine the actor to be like in reality; Zac Efron in my minds eye is something of jock who won’t hesitate to unclothe his abs at the slightest provocation, and his character in Bad Neighbours lives up to that perception. That’s not to say that I have any idea who he is as a person on any level whether it be personal or professional, but he pulls off the douchebag frat-boy cliche with uncanny precision. Seth Rogen is typically the quirky stoner with minimal life prospects, and in this film he is type-cast once again albeit with a greater sense of stability. These two characters form the bias of the film and to that, I say it really works. But there is also a lot that doesn’t work, and here’s what you can expect from this film:
- Crude, unimaginative humour that focusses on drugs, alcohol, and sex.
- Seth Rogen shtick.
- More improvising than a comedian in the hot-seat.
- Abs, boobs, dildos, and Dave Franco’s naked butt.
That’s basically a recipe for almost every film with Seth Rogen in a leading role. The film isn’t terrible, but it is creatively bankrupt and unless you’re a teenager, the routine and delivery of material fails to resonate on a level above face value. They do throw in a message along the lines of ‘everyone has to grow up sometime’ or ‘why do we have to become mature adults?’ depending on which side of the coin you’re flipping for, but in general it is really more of a what you see is what you get sort of flick.
It does have appeal, and mainstream audiences that prefer their humour on the gawdy side will be pleased with what Bad Neighbours brings to the table, but this has been done before and to a degree feels like Rogen and co. are grasping at straws to keep the film chugging along while chugging down on a couple of brewskies. It’s not 2014′s worst comedy but it did have the potential to be one of the better ones.