Director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) brings us NEIGHBORS, a hilarious movie about a young couple at war with the frat house that moves in next door. Typical frat comedies tend to pick a side, turning one fraternity into an obvious villain or an obvious underdog hero. NEIGHBORS offers a more balanced approach, devoting time to both sides of the war.
We understand the woes Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are facing as a fledgling couple with a newborn, and we empathize with both their desire for uninterrupted sleep and their yearning for the uninhibited life of the young. We also find merit in the friendship between fraternity members Zac Efron and Dave Franco, who want to leave behind a legacy before graduating and facing the real world. Both sides are at a precipice; the fraternity members are staring down the barrel of the gun that is adulthood, and the young couple are struggling with the realization that their carefree days may be over.
This isn’t a dramatic piece, though; Stoller is a master when it comes to allowing the talent of his cast to shine in his comedic movies; NEIGHBORS packs laugh after laugh into its tightly-paced script, but takes brief pauses to let an actor’s often hilarious facial expressions extend a reaction.
NEIGHBORS is a solid comedic piece, and while it should serve as a good pick-me-up to just about any audience, the 22-32 year old audience should find the themes most resonant.