Film Review by Kam Williams
Couple Confronts Rowdy Frat in Raunchy Revenge Comedy
When Kelly (Rose Byrne) and Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) decided to settle down in suburbia, they reasonably expected to raise their newborn in a quiet community. But that dream was threatened soon thereafter, when the local chapter of Delta Psi Beta bought the house next-door.
As a precautionary measure, the concerned couple introduced themselves to their new neighbors and asked for assurances that there wouldn’t be any wild partying on the premises. Delta Psi’s President, Teddy (Zac Efron), and Vice President, Pete (Dave Franco), did agree to keep the noise down in exchange for a promise from the Radners not to call the police.
Nevertheless, it’s not long before the situation spirals out of control. After all, the infamous frat has a well-established reputation for rowdiness, having invented the toga party back in the Thirties and then beer pong in the Seventies.
So, today, Teddy feels pressure to match his predecessors’ checkered past. This means he’s inclined to up the ante in terms of outrageous antics, which can only spell trouble for Kelly and Mac once they go back on their word about complaining to the cops, and Delta Psi is placed on probation by the university’s dean, Carol Gladstone (Lisa Kudrow).
At that point, all bets are off, and the frat and the newlyweds proceed to square-off in an ever-escalating war of attrition with more losers than winners. That is the point of departure of Neighbors, a relentlessly-raunchy revenge comedy directed by Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek).
Unfortunately, the sophomoric parties prove to be more cruel than clever in their attempts to get even, and the shocking behavior displayed onscreen is invariably more smutty than funny, as it features plenty of prolonged frontal nudity. Plus, the picture’s only good gag, when the office chair jettisons Mac into the ceiling, was totally spoiled by the TV commercials.
Otherwise, the film is memorable mostly for its homoerotic humor, as director Stoller is fond of seizing on any excuse to lampoon gay sexuality. First, Kelly kisses a college coed she’s recruiting as a confidante. Then, fraternity pledges are forced to parade naked in a circle while clutching the penis of the guy in front of him.
On another occasion, a male student is raped by a classmate seemingly in his sleep, only to later admit that he was aware and welcomed the rude intrusion. And when Teddy and Pete fight over a girl (Halston Sage), they settle their differences in bizarre fashion, namely, by massaging each other’s genitals to see who climaxes first, while appropriating the gangsta’ rap mantra, “Bros before hos!”
Throw in the gratuitous use of the “N-word” twice, of anti-Semitism (“You Jews and your f*cking mothers!”), as well as a profusion of misogyny comments like referring to breasts as “udders,” and there’s little left to recommend about this ugly descent into depravity.
Poor (0 stars)
Rated R for crude humor, graphic sexuality, full frontal nudity, pervasive profanity, ethnic slurs, and drug and alcohol abuse
Running time: 97 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures