As much as the summer movie season brings a glutton of big-budget action films, so too come the raunchy comedies. After the summer successes of the Judd Apatow-produced Bridesmaids, Pineapple Express, Step Brothers, Superbad, Knocked Up, Talladega Nights, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Anchorman, it’s safe to say that we want to laugh as much as we want our explosions. While this weekend’s Neighbors may not have any direct influence from Apatow, it definitely feels like one in the same. After the monster success of last summer’s This Is the End, Rogen obviously realized that audiences like to party inside, as much as outside, during the summer months.
Mac (Rogen) and wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) are trying to get into the swing of being parents with their newborn Stella (the totally adorable Elise and Zoey Vargas), while their newly divorced friends, Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) and Paula (Carla Gallo), invite them to raves and get high on work breaks. And just as Mac and Kelly seem to be settling in, a fraternity moves in next door. The Delta Psi Beta have arrived lead by fraternity president Teddy (Zac Efron) and vice president Pete (Dave Franco). Mac and Kelly introduce themselves and offer a token toke as a peace offering to hopefully keep the partying at a reasonable level, but soon enough, it’s a war develops involving 3D printers, choker necklaces, dildo nun-chucks, and Robert De Niro impressions.
If any other comedy has the chance to be funnier than Neighbors this year, it’ll be next month’s 22 Jump Street, but for now, fun is the name of the game. Director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, The Five-Year Engagement) — oddly enough the man who helped resurrect the Muppets franchise — brings his A-game making sure that every scene plays to the hilt. Even a few life lessons are learned on both sides of the fence. But while there may be a few fleeting moments to catch your breath, prepare to be assaulted by the year’s funniest movie so far. Everyone gets a chance to shine, with Byrne admirably getting down and dirty, but the proceedings never take a turn for the gross. Sometimes a movie can go too far and it stops being funny. Neighbors makes Old School look old school. Don’t be the last one to this party.
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