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Movie review: Neighbors

Zac Efron and Seth Rogen’s comedic chemistry creates the first true hit of the summer

May 13, 2014 | 4:20 p.m. CST

Exploding airbag chairs, a Robert DeNiro-themed frat party, inappropriately shaped hedges and – per usual in a Seth Rogen film – tons of weed and alcohol all make appearances in Neighbors.

Nicholas Stoller, the director behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, is back with this comedy about parents with a newborn baby moving in next door to a frat house.

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You can’t expect Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) to just call the cops over and over again. They’re cool parents who are struggling to settle into their new roles. They try to get revenge by flooding the frat house, but when that backfires horribly (and comically) they decide to get the frat in the headlines for misbehaving in the hopes that its university shuts it down.

Naturally, both sides take it too far when fraternity president Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) realizes the couple’s plan.

Mac and Teddy are equal parts bromance and bro-enemies. They bond over weed and partying but clash over what happens in the neighborhood at night. Efron is so handsome in this movie he is hard to look at without being blinded, and his usual blank facial expressions work well as the charismatic but empty-headed Teddy. Efron leaves his comfort zone a couple of times and proves his acting chops further.

Rogen essentially plays the same character he plays in every movie, i.e. the loser stoner who somehow landed an attractive wife, but it works perfectly here.

Fraternity vice president Pete (Dave Franco) and divorced duo Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) and Paula (Carla Gallo) provide foils for the main characters. Pete is going to be a successful college graduate, and Paula and Jimmy are partying it up (separately) without kids.

Don’t expect high-brow humor in this movie, but do expect to be laughing for more than half of it.

Vox Rating: V V V V

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