Bad Neighbours

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UK Release Date 3rd May 2014
Director Nicholas Stoller
Starring Seth 'n Zac
Runtime 96 Minutes
Certificate 15
Reviewer Si
Reviewed 2nd May 2014

You pretty much know what you're going to get with a movie starring Seth Rogen and for the most part, we’ve pretty much enjoyed all of them. It has to be said, that is not our opening line when we talk big about being film critics. This is the End gave us a good amount of pleasure last year, though we still have no idea what that was all about. Now the guy that brought us Forgetting Sarah Marshall (worth seeing entirely due to Paul Rudd’s character) has married Rogen off and moved his family in next door to a frat house…

Bad Neighbours (weirdly titled Neighbors in the States - maybe this kind of thing isn’t bad over there) has Rogen’s new father Mac finding domestic harmony out in the suburbs with his Australian wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) and baby daughter. Excited that they are about to get new neighbours, they are soon troubled when they don't see the much desired Gay Couple and do see a slightly less welcome fraternity moving their stuff in. Straddling that age where you still think you can communicate with da kids (as I clearly cannot), they strap the nipper into her buggy and nonchalantly wander over to greet their new neighbours and while they’re there, just ask them to, you know, keep it down. The fraternity is receptive but unbeknownst to the lovely couple harbours desires to get itself into the fraternity hall of fame. The peace is kept initially but real life intervenes and after placing numerous calls into the house president (an almost CGI Zac Efron’s Teddy) on the night of a particularly awesome party, the couple break a promise to him and call the cops. A war of course ensues.

In terms of setup, the movie does make an attempt at some new ground. Cross-generational comedies are nothing new but there aren’t too many that deal with a family that isn’t, you know, really old. Rogen and Byrne make a believable couple and there attempts to relate to the frat boys are only too close to how I would imagine myself attempting to deal with them. The attraction here will of course depend on your age. For anyone in that 30 - 40 age bracket, you’ll probably know exactly what I mean. That area of your life when you haven’t quite convinced yourself of the pleasures of your young family and still dream of that mental night out.

After attempting that night out and only making it as far as the hallway (where they collapse under the weight of baby tiredness and baby accessories), the couple’s subconscious jealously at their neighbours is there to be seen. Being close to kids having such a good time particularly gets to Mac as he find himself escalating a situation he can’t possibly hope to win.

How much you enjoy Bad Neighbours will ultimately come down to a couple of things that you know well in advance of entering the screening. One: how much did you enjoy Old School and would you like to see a slightly more grown up version of that movie and Two: how funny do you find the idea of Zac Efron and Seth Rogen fighting each other with rubber dildos made by the fraternity using their own genitalia. If you’re on board with either of those, and let’s face it, they’re more or less the same question, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. Though it is decidedly tipped towards a male audience, Byrne proves more than able to hold her own without having to resort to anything flagrantly misogynistic - her foul mouth is endlessly brilliant. The remaining cast do sterling support work though they’re predominantly there to make up the numbers when the party starts.

Jammed with superbly puerile humour, good natured performances from the three leads and Efron having the time of his life, if you come out of this one massively disappointed, you’ll only have yourself to blame for going in in the first place. It’s got a baby dressed as Heisenberg eating fake crystal meth for crying out loud, what were you expecting? Oh, and Efron and Rogen's sales pitch in front of Abercrombie & Fitch is probably one of the funniest things I've seen for a long time.

Check out the trailer here.

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