Bad Neighbours (2014)

Review #1,033

Director:  Nicholas Stoller
Cast:  Seth RogenRose ByrneZac Efron
Plot:  A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.

Genre:  Comedy
Awards:  -
Runtime:  96min
Rating:  R21 for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout.

Seth Rogen is not embarrassed to show off his flabby body and peculiar dance moves, providing audiences with some of the best laughs in this new Nicholas Stoller movie.  Some of you may know Stoller from his directorial debut Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), one of the better adult rom-coms of that period when the genre was revitalized by Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) and Knocked Up (2007). 

Stoller’s fourth feature Bad Neighbours is not one of this year’s raunchy comedy gems, but a better-than-okay effort that with just enough laughs and cringe-worthy moments to satisfy the seasoned or casual moviegoer.  There is some star wattage with Rogen and Zac Efron headlining the movie, and as far as fans of those two leads are concerned, this is as much a showcase of their bodies as it is their screen chemistry.

Rogen and Rose Byrne play father and mother respectively to their newborn kid.  They live in a beautiful house in a quiet neighbourhood until the peace gets destroyed by a group of guys led by Efron’s character who transforms an empty, adjacent compound into a fraternity house, blasting loud music and partying wildly over the wee hours of the night. 

Bad Neighbours is akin to a comedic confrontation between Rogen and Efron, both trying to sabotage each other to gain the upper hand in a frenemy conflict that oscillates from plain awkwardness to what-did-I-just-see scenarios.  The scene that the movie will be remembered for involves airbags.  I shall not reveal further, except that there is no other way to react to the scene than a combination of shock and stupefaction. 

The concept of Stoller's movie is in some ways interesting: feuding neighbours are a staple of reality, though they are not frequently portrayed in movies, let alone being something that underpins an entire picture.  It is also a concept that is difficult to stretch narratively.  Which is why the film only lasts a little more than 90 minutes. 

It is a good runtime, well-paced and gives viewers a tight comedy that along with engaging performances from the cast give this movie some oomph, though not quite a solid one.  Bad Neighbours meets expectations, which is just good enough.

Verdict:  An expectation-meeting adult comedy with just enough laughs and cringe-worthy moments.

GRADE: B (7.5/10 or 3.5 stars)

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