Warning: weed, partying and (man)boobs within. Yes folks, from the college movie tradition that spawned Animal House, it’s Seth Rogen’s new comedy Bad Neighbours. Dumb and crass, but generally in the right places, there’s plenty to enjoy in this hard-partying romp.
Domesticated ravers Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) are adjusting to parenthood when a rowdy frat moving in threatens their suburban bliss. A misunderstanding with party captain Teddy (Efron) leads to an all-out war for the sanctity of the neighbourhood. Yes, the premise is old, but the twist is new; we are asked to sympathise with the party pooping fuddy duddies, not the students rocking out. Considering the films demographic (and this newspaper’s readership) this seems unlikely, yet Bad Neighbours is a definite success.
This is made possible through top drawer lead performances. Seth Rogen is not known for his subtlety, but like his character he has matured somewhat from his breakout performance in Superbad. He keeps the jokes coming thick and fast, and is brilliantly supported by Byrne, whose comedy skill was honed in Bridesmaids. The dynamic duo are hilarious in their single minded war with the frat, trading gags and puns thick and fast. The frat boys are headed up by another power ‘couple’ – the bros before hoes, beer chugging double terror of Efron and Franco. In a comedy as bawdy as Bad Neighbours, Efron does a remarkable job of creating a three dimensional character in Teddy, the jock ringleader who is obsessed with party immortality at any cost. Dave Franco as the intelligent Pete is an excellent foil for Efron, and together they are worthy adversaries for Rogen and Byrne. The comic tension crackles as they all love, fight, party and, erm… cross beams.
For a movie overflowing with puke and sex gags, Bad Neighbours is a surprisingly insightful study on how to erect a bridge between warring neighbours. Speaking of erections, there are lots of them in this film. A dickload of them, in fact. If your eyes rolled at the illegal antics of McLovin’ in Superbad, or tutted at stoner-hit Pineapple Express then you’ll want to skip this party. However, though the gags are recycled and the humour is crude, Bad Neighbours ultimately has plenty funny and witty to say – before it blacks out in the bathroom.