Bad Neighbours – or just Neighbors as it was originally distributed on the other side of the pond – is the latest entry in a long line of frat-house comedies that trace their roots through flicks like Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, Van Wilder and Old School.
The spin this time is to find out what happens when a raucous fraternity led by the uber-buff Teddy Sanders (Zac ‘High School Musical’ Efron) moves in next to a thirtysomething couple with a young child. It’s not all sweetness and light, that’s for sure.
It is, however, an all out hilarious if morally dubious comedy clash.
Director Nicholas ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ Stoller is blessed with a talented cast led by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne who play Mac and Kelly Radner, the couple with a new young baby who are trying to cope with parenthood.
The last thing this sleep-deprived pair need is a loud bunch of college guys moving in next door and partying all night every night.
As well as some of the funniest scenes to hit the big screen for years – you may never forget the airbags pranks – there is a real heart at the core of Bad Neighbours.
The issues of adapting to being parents are handled well through a comedy lens and there is a touch of ‘Project X’ about the frat party finale.
Bad Neighbours certainly isn’t for the easily offended as there is mucho profanity, nudity and general wrongness writ large, but it works because the leads are so darn likeable.
The film nails the parental insecurity and frustration about how having a child forces you to quit partying or having much chance for spontaneous fun experienced by the older generation and the fear of having to ‘grow up’ from the college kids.
All the cast go about the funny business with gusto as the prank war escalates to insane proportions. Rogen is on great form and has superb chemistry with Byrne while Zac Efron eats up the screen looking incredibly cool. Dave Franco is also superb as Zac’s vice president – their ‘bromance’ is a good balance to the young couple’s relationship – and both relationships have real heartfelt moments.
If you need a good laugh, Bad Neighbours is by far the funniest film to hit the cinema in 2014 – it’s a full on wild, crude hilarious thrill ride!