Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writers: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien
Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco
Bad Neighbours is a film that I had been eagerly awaiting to watch for some time, a cast filled with comedy-gold and genius, matched by a fun concept shown off brilliantly in a hilarious trailer, had me hook line and sinker for this year’s big comedy release. I can firmly say that I wasn’t disappointed, huge laughs, unforgettable scenes and Seth Rogen being Seth Rogen, easily made this one of the best comedies I have seen in recent years. However what also makes Bad Neighbours so great is its refreshing take and twist on a popular and typical genre story, whilst also achieving a sense of familiarity.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are new parents, adapting to a somewhat unknown and feared stable lifestyle; managing marriage, having a child, professional jobs and owning a house. However the couple are struggling, missing their youth and the excitement of what seems to be their previous life, despite not even being old. Mac now works at an office where the only joy comes from occasionally smoking weed with his friend Jimmy, whilst Kelly is finding the stay-at-home mum life equally boring and dull. However the pair’s life is soon going to become a reflection of their past and youth as a fraternity moves into the house next door, making the two neighbours. The fraternity, D-Side, is run by president Teddy (Zac Efron) and his vice president Pete (Dave Franco), the two together want to become legendary and make it onto to the wall of fame. Party after party, night after night, Kelly and Mac eventually call the police, however things don’t go to plan and the two neighbours start a war, involving air bag pranks, condoms, fireworks and dildo selling.
The comedy elements to Bad Neighbours are great and the laughs are both huge and consistent, however as previously mentioned there seems to be a deeper and refreshing aspect to its story which is down to some great and well-thought about writing. Mac and Kelly are struggling to adapt with maturing, and despite their hatred for their new neighbours it brings the much missed past youth experience which they seem to soak-up. It was a refreshing take on the adaption and cross-over in life, where usually we see middle-aged couples or teenage dramas it was interesting to see it achieved with those who are still young. Teddy and Pete are likewise fearful of their future and the next step, the thought of what happens next seems to be frightening and they hide behind their Robert De Niro parties. However the bringing together of these two “couples” in a sense help them accept change and embrace their lifestyle.
Bad Neighbours as a comedy however is hilarious. I have not seen a comedy for a long while which has had so many big moments which literally produce gut-busting laughs and a few tears. Despite the trailer somewhat ruining some surprising moments the comedy was genius, whilst also being refreshing and non-cliché. Teddy and Pete steal the airbags out of Mac’s and Kelly’s car, replacing them into various chairs in their house, making them explode when an un-expecting Mac takes a seat. The humour associated around the baby, Stella, is also brilliant, something which although pushes boundaries creates so many laughs. The first time we see our lead characters they are having sex in an attempt to feel young again whilst being conscious of their curious daughter watching from the high-chair, there is also a moment when Stella swallows a condom thrown into the lawn from the frats. The gags are consistent with a nice mixture between slapstick, physical and uncomfortable humour being used, again making it refreshing.
The importance of the lead characters was huge, and the writers deserve some credit however the portrayal by the main cast was great. Seth Rogen for me always produces huge and successful comedies and is one of the funniest and talented comedy actors in present times. He didn’t disappoint with his character of Mac who was hilarious, it was also interesting to see Seth take on a character that had a responsibility too, something he managed well. Zac Efron and Rose Byrne were also good, with solid performances, Kelly’s outbursts of anger were great to watch whilst an angry Teddy was amusing. Dave Franco too deserves credit; his presence brought laughs almost each-time.
There seemed to be a lot of enjoyable things from Bad Neighbours, as a film-lover the in-jokes present throughout added that something extra. Teddy and Mac, stoned in the early morning decide to debate their favourite Batman Actor whilst making some hilarious impressions, the inclusion of a Robert De Niro party also made me laugh; Dave Franco’s Focker impression was pure gold, “Ay Focker? You’re upsetting Mr Jinxy Cat”
It is really hard to fault this comedy; it really did achieve its aims as I laughed so much, my only criticism comes from the slightly annoying trailer which can ruin some funny moments. I also felt that at times, especially the focus on the Frat parties were unnecessary or dwelled on for too long.
Bad Neighbours will certainly be one of the best comedies this year, and for now it definitely is one of the best comedies I’ve seen in recent years. There is so much more than what can be seen on the surface to this film, with some deep character meanings and development which is handled well by both the cast and writers. The laughs are huge, and some scenes I’m sure will be remembered for ages, along with quotes – “I’m milking a human”, “I put my dick in your mouth when you were asleep, – I was awake” Bad Neighbours is a must-watch, and an easily enjoyable film which deserves a lot of praise and credit.