Teddy (Zac Efron

Teddy (Zac Efron

Reel Reviews: Seth Rogen hits a certain kind of high in Neighbors

“Neighbors delivers exactly what you would expect from frat-house comedy."

  • May. 16, 2014 6:00 p.m.

Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) are a young married couple with a newborn baby.

Each seeking to regain a little bit of the youthful excitement of their younger lives, the couple are pleased to be able to prove how cool they are when a fraternity moves into the house next door.

The president of the fraternity, Teddy (Zac Efron), promises to keep it down to a dull roar, but by the next day it is apparent that the frat house is going to be host to non-stop wild parties.

When Mac and Kelly decide to take matters into their own hands, the war is on between Neighbors.

We say, “Neighbors delivers exactly what you would expect from frat-house comedy.”

TAYLOR: There is a philosophy, espoused by Seneca, that if one lowers one’s expectations one is likely to be disappointed less. By subscribing to this standard to the point of a social norm, I guess we can expect future generations to be satisfied by exploiting pop culture that our grandparents would find baffling. At the same time, I found myself laughing more than once at the sophomoric, self-referential irony of Seth Rogen, bearer of a personality that provides at least enough opportunity for a film career, playing the dumb stoner. Even the plot lines of Rogen’s latest films cry out for him to grow up, but that would require some acting ability.

HOWE: And that is exactly what he has to do, get an acting role. I’m fed up of his stoner role in all of his movies where he does absolutely nothing and his comedy routine is just like him when he gets high, blaaaaah. Hopefully now after making this he realizes that he’s in his 30s and he can’t keep making crap that isn’t funny.

There are a couple of funny moments in Neighbors but none of them are rib ticklers.

Maybe I’m too old or maybe it was because I wasn’t intoxicated to really enjoy this movie.

No, I don’t agree with that, it just isn’t that funny.

TAYLOR: The frat-aged crowd is going to laugh, and even older curmudgeons like us may laugh here and there. To be clear, I don’t think it’s necessarily that Rogen is stoned all the time that hinders his growth as an actor, but rather that he always plays a dumb guy, in an easily solved situation: just don’t be dumb.

Stoned lawyers could make for an interesting movie. Stoned cops have hit sequels on their hands. Neighbors is a movie about a prank war with a fraternity. Have reasonable expectations and you won’t be disappointed.

HOWE: But when you are paying $10 to $15 a time to watch a movie, you don’t want to be disappointed and with Neighbors, I think you might be.

–  Taylor gives Neighbors 3 spliffs out of 5.

– Howe gives it 2 baby monitors out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon B.C. Their column runs in The Morning Star Friday and Sunday.