In general, there are two types of comedy films: unrealistic over-the-top ones, such as Anchorman or 21 Jump Street, and realistic ones, such as Animal House or The Hangover. Maybe in the realistic ones there will be a character or two who is, in fact, over-the-top, but in a unique way that is creative in respect to the film itself (e.g. Alan in The Hangover). However, Neighbors couldn’t quite figure out which one it wanted to be. Here you are presented with a realistic premise but when necessary for the continuation of the plot, they sprinkle in some unrealistic characters and situations, as though straddling the fence between the two movies that they wanted to create.
Situation #1: The entire film is based on a plot hole. Teddy (the frat dude) makes Mac (the neighbor) promise that if he has a problem with the noise that he will call him first before calling the police. Teddy says that he values promises very highly–especially in his newfound friendship with Mac. So the next night when the frat house is having a party for the 2nd night in a row, Mac calls Teddy 10 times (although later he says 5) but Teddy is doesn’t pick up the phone. They can’t take it any longer so they finally call the police. The officer comes and then rats out Mac for calling him. Then Teddy goes over there with the officer and Mac tells him that he called him 5 times but he didn’t answer. Teddy ignores this and proceeds to get upset and tells Mac that he broke a promise and that he is going to pay the consequence. Mac–who seems like a very aware and pedantic guy–doesn’t even attempt to explain to Teddy that, in fact, he did not break any promise–if anything, he KEPT his promise. The entire rest of the film stems from this “breaking of the promise”.
Situation #2: The police officer lets the fraternity off the hook because of the fact that the complaint came from a guy (Mac) who partied with them before. So it’s okay that there is loud noise on a work night in a residential neighborhood because the guy who complained has partied before??
Situation #3: The dean of the college uses every faulty argument you could think of when Mac and Kelly go to her to complain about the fraternity after their baby daughter put a condom in her mouth on their front lawn. She explains that there is a 3 strike policy when it comes to the frats and that the frat would have to do something “headline worthy” in order to earn them another strike. She also states that there should be a headline talking about how they are neglecting parents for “letting” their daughter put a condom in her mouth. It’s not like they just let it happen. They’re not expecting her to find that on their own front lawn. And they ran after her and got it as soon as they realized what it was…Also, at this point, the fraternity has extremely vandalized Mac and Kelly’s home, and proceed to do so very illegally throughout the rest of the film.
Scenario #4: How in the world is it possible that Mac and Kelly are the only neighbors that are filing noise complaints and are having problems with the fraternity. They are having parties every night! Sure, they are “buying out” their neighbors with gifts and favors or whatever, but no matter how many favors and gifts you give someone they are going to get annoyed if they are kept up every night because of excessive loud noise and partying.
Scenario #5: How in the world is Teddy even allowed to be in a frat–let alone the president. He says that his GPA is in the high 1s. That’s barely enough to even keep you in school.
Although the pranks are pretty clever, the equality in the back-and-forth makes for a frustrating viewing because you really only want one side to win. Seth Rogen is the only main actor who is not completely annoying. I guess Franco is alright–he’s not annoying, but he’s also just not really that funny either. Rose Byrne is annoying and tries too hard and Efron plays douchey way too well.
It has some decent bits, but even the jokes that are funny are hard to laugh at a lot of times because of everything else that is happening, and you become so mad at the antagonists that everything they do is just annoying and frustrating as if you hate them in real life.
The only other things that this film has going for it are the decent character development across the board and a thoughtful theme of growing up. However, these things are going to be overlooked by most of the people seeing it because everything else is way too distracting.
I wanted to like this film, but there really is no hope for me.
Twizard Rating: 54