UK Release Date: 3rd May 2014
Runtime: 97 minutes
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Andrew Cohen, Brendan O’Brien
Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Roberts
Synopsis: A divorced couple and their friends travel to France to take down the rogue businessman who squandered their pension pots.
Crude comedies are Hollywood’s favourite delicacy. The R-rated comedy has sat at the summit of American cinema for a long time now. In fact, Bad Neighbours is Zac Efron’s second foray into the genre this year, after the utterly terrible That Awkward Moment. Thankfully, this time around, he has absolutely nailed it.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are an ordinary suburban couple, struggling to grow up and be good parents. Their efforts are thrown out of control when a college fraternity led by Teddy (Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) moves in next door. When the couple are forced to call the police to shut down a party, a feud quickly escalates between the warring neighbours.
Bad Neighbours is every bit as crude and formulaic as the other R-rated comedies of the last ten years. The difference is that, in contrast to something like This Is The End, it remembers that, first and foremost, it has to be really funny.
| "They promised me infinite BJs."
The film has jokes to spare from start to finish. And unusually, there’s something for everyone in the gags. For every bit of lowest common denominator smut, there’s some neat wordplay or a great bit of slapstick. Unfortunately, the film does suffer from the fact that many of its best set pieces – such as the airbag running gag and the Robert DeNiro party – are in the trailer.
Seth Rogen hasn’t been as funny in years as he is in Bad Neighbours. He is still, in essence, playing the same character as usual, but there’s a twist. Rogen isn’t the down-and-out stoner twenty-something any more; he’s a parent. This is a role that he is able to fill perfectly and it freshens up his act brilliantly.
He is aided by solid work from Zac Efron and Rose Byrne. They both prove to be excellent foils for Rogen and get a handful of excellent lines. There’s an especially nice moment between Rogen and Efron where they compare Batman impressions that neatly highlights the generational divide at the film’s core.
Equally brilliant is Friends alumni Lisa Kudrow, who gets an extended cameo as the headline-obsessed Dean of the college.
| "We have caller ID; we’re cops. Everybody has caller ID."
As good as Bad Neighbours is, it does suffer from a glut of things we’ve seen a thousand times before. There’s only so many times that the same giggles about weed and penises can be funny. The script is also worryingly reliant on pop culture references that will not date well. Films like The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Superbad will last forever, but in 5-10 years, Bad Neighbours will be a complete irrelevance.
And for a film this funny, that’s a real shame.
Pop or Poop?
Bad Neighbours is one of the funniest adult comedies Hollywood has produced in the last few years. Seth Rogen is at the height of his powers and Zac Efron almost manages to banish the memories of That Awkward Moment.
It suffers from predictability and overly revealing marketing, but it has a great cast, a solid script and it’s directed with real energy and fun.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.