Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Alternate title: Bad Neighbours
USA, 2014. Good Universe, Point Grey Pictures. Screenplay by Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien. Cinematography by Brandon Trost. Produced by Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Weaver. Music by Michael Andrews. Production Design by Julie Berghoff. Costume Design by Leesa Evans. Film Editing by Zene Baker.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne have a new baby, a new house and, like most people in their circumstances, are both excited about the future and terrified that all the good times are over. Their ambivalence is put to the test when the house next door sells to a university fraternity led by the Ken doll in human form that is Zac Efron. At first friendly with their new neighbours, the young couple get tired of the perpetual noise of partying and mayhem that keeps them from sleeping at night. They can’t sell their house without losing most of their investment, and their other neighbours are elderly and easily won over by the fraternity members’ do-gooder activities for them, so Byrne and Rogen risk being uncool and do what they promised they never would: they call the cops to come and break up the party. Efron takes their action as an affront and a war of one-upmanship begins, mostly crazy pranks involving property damage, dildo modeling and fun with car airbags. Rogen and Byrne being caught between loving the benefits of encroaching middle age while trying to dip back into the indulgences of youth really does provide for some deeply funny comedy (made easier by the fact that Rogen doesn’t spend the entire time laughing at his own jokes). Less developed is Efron’s crisis, mainly his fear of becoming his neighbours in the future, briefly mentioned by best friend Dave Franco but never actually dealt with by the script or Efron’s only serviceable acting. It’s a film made from a solid formula, and at this point even the scenes of improvised humour in these movies are predictable, but the easy chemistry between the stars and the genuinely funny set pieces make it a great time.