If you read the synopsis of Bad Neighbours, you might think it’s an absurd idea to even attempt to turn it into a film, let alone a good one. But that is exactly what writers Brendan O’Brien, Andrew J Cohen, and director Nicolas Stoller, have tried.
New parents to baby Stella, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) try to adjust to parenthood while still dreaming and attempting to have wild nights. They soon get what they wish for when a bunch of frat boys – led by Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco), move in next door. At first, both sides try to reach common ground and be friends, however, the fraternity boys continue to party every night leaving baby Stella and parents sleep deprived. Mac and Kelly end up calling the cops which incites a full on neighbourly war. What follows are laugh out loud scenarios.
The film starts off with Mac and Kelly trying to get intimate, only to be caught being looked at by their baby. That sets the tone for the rest of the film. The laughs and entertainment are consistent throughout without slowing down or dropping off. There are some spectacularly hilarious scenes involving air bags and a hospital trip. While some jokes are politically incorrect and cruder than others, most are clever and unexpected, which not only makes the film a lot of fun for the viewer, but it’s a feat that a other comedies often fail to achieve.
The characters are well thought out. While the frat boys are clearly can be over the top and “cruel”, they are not made out to be the bad guys. Mac and Kelly really match them in the revenge department in their own “old” ways.
There is a subplot in the film; both sides are trying to come to terms with new phases of their lives, which is worked into the story without it feeling out of place in a comedy. This very subplot is what makes the film somewhat relatable to people. Whether that be the difficulties of being new parents or realising that years have been wasted on things that don’t matter.
All cast are at peak form. Byrne is excellent, even in a very crude scene involving her breasts. It’s also nice to hear her real accent. As for Efron, he’ll be finally losing that “baby face” from that teen movie tag. Franco and Efron showcase their comedic talents and even hit the note at some of the more intense scenes. The movie makers don’t shy away from the fact that Zac is the “eye candy”, referring to it in a tongue and cheek manner (“It’s like a gay man designed him in a laboratory,” says Mac) from the beginning. As with all his best work, Seth Rogen has become synonymous with playing the confident loser type of comedic roles. As well as stripping off. However, no amount of stripping takes away from scene stealers Elise and Zoey Vargas, who play baby Stella. The studio could not have cast more adorable girls.
Overall, Bad Neighbours is witty and better executed then majority of movies in the same genre these days. While it has plenty of crudeness and politically incorrect jokes, it manages to avoid being tacky and drawn out. Nice to see Hollywood can still generate some new formulas in films. I rate it 7 out of 10 stars.
Bad Neighbours is out in cinemas today.