Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Neighbors

By Sati. Wednesday, May 28, 2014 , , , , , ,

Mac and Kelly are trying to have sex in their dining room. Mac keeps saying how hot it is that they are having sex on a chair. And then he notices that their little baby Stella is staring at them. Kelly points out it's nothing, she is simply seeing shapes. To which Mac replies 'yeah, the shapes that are fucking!'

That's the first scene of the hilarious new comedy - Neighbors. If you don't like modern American comedies, with all the weed, all the fucks, all the dicks jokes and obligatory pro-family message, you won't like this one either. But I do not mind crude humor as long as the jokes are funny. And twice during Neighbors I felt ashamed after laughing. Once during doctor scene and the second when the word rape is shouted enthusiastically as an answer to a question. I'd like to think I'm not a horrible person - the comedy timing was simply so good.
And I freaking love Seth Rogen. I would - and did - see everything for this guy. He is so funny and I like his characters - yeah, they aren't perfect, yeah, they tend to be immature, but Rogen more often than not plays the good guy who does the right thing. It's so easy to root for someone like that.

Here Rogen plays perhaps the most responsible version of his usual character - Mac has a boring desk job, he cares about his baby daughter and he actually likes spending time with her and his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne). They are an adorable couple and their baby is super cute. The only problem is that because of the baby they don't have time or energy to do what they used to when they were younger - partying, going out, being irresponsible.
And soon that problem is shoved right in their faces - and shoved in ladies' faces are the close ups of ridiculously blue eyed, frequently shirtless Zac Efron (seriously it got to the point they actually force you to go 'damn' when you see him, and this is coming from someone who is into older guys, exclusively) who embodies that problem.

His name is Teddy and he is the president of the fraternity which just moved in to the Neighborhood. The couple decides to come over, act cool and ask them politely to be quiet at nights. Unfortunately, one night Mac is forced to call the cops - or shall I say the world's most chilled out police office ever - and since that moment the fraternity and the almighty Teddy start a war against the couple.
Neighbors isn't as funny as This is the End, Rogen's previous movie, but it has plenty of laughs in it. Is it frequently over the line? Sure. Dildo fight. Milking scene. A montage of hazing that pays off as a joke. The aforementioned two instances of using the things no one should be joking about as a joke. Is it hilarious? Yes.  Hell, there's even Game of Thrones reference (and I liked the movie so much I'm even willing to forgive them for referencing Girls).

There's also something more, as there usually is in this type of movies - we see Teddy's issues, the fact the fraternity is all he really has as he doesn't have good grades and after the college is done, who knows what's in store for him. And we see young, loving couple trying to cope with the fact that their carefree life is gone forever.
I'm not saying any of this is persuasive or especially insightful - Mac's line about marriage being a party too was a very cute but laughable way of communicating the message of the movie. But at least they tried and seeing these characters with their flaws made them feel like real people. And that's always a good thing.

Neighbors is quite inventive - the film was influenced by Spring Breakers and Enter the Void and it really shows in incredible party sequences. Some of those can actually make you dizzy - the overwhelming neon colors, loud music, quick editing and ever present debauchery. On the other hand the family scenes with Mac and Kelly are filmed in such a calm and stoic way. Little, but very noticeable and clever touch.
But the real reason the movie works is the cast. While Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally filmed a cameo as his parents but their scene unfortunately ended up being cut), the legendary McLovin is kinda wasted here, the supporting cast including Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo is just hysterical. Barinholtz was especially funny. I didn't see him in anything else that I recall but he stole many scenes in this one.

Seth Rogen is for me always reliable. I did see a lot of mean comments about how weird it is that a guy like that has a wife played by Rose Byrne, but come on - his character was sweet, fun, devoted and loving. Are you telling me these qualities mean nothing? I really liked the chemistry between Rogen and Byrne - it was really believable and warm.
I really liked that film has played with old cliches - when Kelly leaves the house after big fight with Mac there is no long 3rd act of the movie with Mac struggling to say sorry and her struggling to forgive him. The whole thing is over in the very next scene where they both apologize to each other.

Another interesting aspect was in Zac Efron's performance who is very funny in the movie but also captured the hopelessness and sadness of his character very well. I was also very impressed with the acting depth he showed in the scene in which pissed off Teddy comes over to remind Mac and Kelly that their infant daughter is going to be growing up around these fraternity guys. That was a surprisingly dark moment.
Speaking of their little daughter, the twin girls who played Stella were just amazing. I found this really cute trivia: the baby turning around to look at Mac and Kelly having sex in the first scene of the film was accidental. The scene was originally supposed to end after Seth Rogen turned her around, however the director noticed that the baby kept looking around to watch them, so he instructed one of the camera men to film the baby. According to the director, if you listen closely, you can hear Rogen and Byrne laugh after the baby turns around to watch them.  

The entire cast and crew got very attached to the twin baby girls that played Stella. The whole cast and crew went to the set on the babies' last day of filming so they could say goodbye to them.
Then there is Rose Byrne. I was never particularly impressed with her work in dramas but she is just wonderful in comedies. She has the best comedy timing out of entire cast in Neighbors. Her delivery of 'oh no, AssJuice!' is one of the funniest things in the movie.

She also plays such a cool character - she is not perfect, she doesn't want to be responsible and wants compromise but in the end she tries to make everything work without losing her wild side. Byrne should be praised for even being willing to do certain scenes. The film has one moment that will no doubt become its most infamous scene but Byrne was 100% committed to it

 I don't have a child nor am I married but I related to Kelly and Mac. To this awful feeling you have when you pretty much have to be an adult even though it is the last thing you want to do. The exhaustion, the feeling you are older than everyone. And yes, the idea of staying at home or spending time with someone you like in peace and quiet - it is better than the loud, seizure inducing parties.

But I bet teenagers and college students related to Teddy more. In few years, though, they will probably feel like Mac and Kelly. Depending on which group you are in right now when you read these words, I assume you're either nodding or shitting your pants out of fear.

Hey, relax, sit back and enjoy a good comedy. Like this one.
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32 comments:

  1. Great review! I enjoyed this one too. (I love that last picture, of them eating pizza in bed. That was a great scene) I liked the neon light use in this film. It's nice to actually enjoy a film with that touch, seeing as I hated Spring Breakers, but enjoyed that aspect of it.

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    1. Thank you! That scene was adorable. If my bed was near my computer that would be my life :P

      Haha I remember your Spring Breakers review :) I did like SB but somehow the parties here seemed even crazier, I think because of the contrast with the ordinary life scenes

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  2. I never thought this movie looked very funny, and the fact that it was promoted as being by "The guys who brought you This is the End" certainly didn't help. For some reason I didn't find that movie funny so much as I did spend the whole film trying in vain to figure out what was supposed to be funny. I even did an article in which I compared This is the End to the similarly-themed but (in my opinion) far better apocalypse comedy The World's End: http://hitchcocksworld.blogspot.ca/2014/03/its-end-of-world-as-we-know-it-and-i.html

    From what I've read of this article I get the feeling that I probably won't like this movie, as I expected.

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    1. Well if you don't like the usual Rogen comedies this is most likely not the best choice of a movie to see :) I was actually insanely bored by World's End and barely finished it.

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  3. Great review! Really looking forward to watching this one. Seth Rogen has always been a great comedian, even if it has been pointed out that he's playing the same character. Those comments about his character landing a wife like Byrne are mean, and quite unjustified. I think Rose Byrne has found her calling in comedies; I can't wait to see what she does with her character.

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    1. Thank you! Byrne is really wonderful in comedies. This is I think her funniest role to date, she is absolutely hilarious

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  4. Loved your review!
    I haven't watched the movie but I probably will. It seems to be a good one.
    I am not scared at all about getting old. Although still a teenager, I've learned that it is better to accept natural things the way they are, because there is no other way around. I am not saying I am an optimist or a pessimist (for me, both are lying to oneself about the real situation), but having less parties means more work - something that can actually be helpful (thence meaningful) to our society, and there so many problems to work on...

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    1. Thank you! :)

      If you don't mind the way Rogen's movies usually go you'll like this one :) It has the usual elements and so, so much weed.

      That's a very good approach to it. Another way to look at it is that when you have a job, you don't even have the energy to party or to even be bothered that you don't have that energy :) But it keeps you occupied and it feels fulfilling, like you didn't waste a day.

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    2. Exactly! As we are on that matter, I will get down to studying Chemistry, Organic, to be more specific...wish me luck on the test tomorrow.

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    3. Good luck! I'm sure you'll do great!

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    4. Thanks! I missed it because I overslept! I won't be having it next week either! Which means I will be able to recover from GoT!

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    5. Haha, that used to happen to me a lot when I was in high school/collage :) I hate that it airs on Sundays, I'm always sleepy and distracted on Mondays after the new episode.

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  5. For me, in addition to Rogen and Byrne, Efron and Franco seemed to have a lot of chemistry as well. Like I said in my review, there's something about Franco I liked a lot in this movie. What stood out to me is the lack of mentions to the sidekick couple in both of our reviews together - the weird dude and the crazy chick, for me, were so unnecessary in this movie and Neighbors could have been much simpler and easy going without those two.

    All in all, like you said, if one's a fan of these types of comedies, they are gonna like Neighbors and I have nothing against it.. because I love Seth Rogen no matter what.

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    1. I mentioned them briefly but only used the actors' names- Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo, I actually really liked them, especially the dude made me laugh a lot :) I can see how they could be a bit annoying, though, but I really liked him and Mac together ^^

      So glad you're a Rogen fan! He is such a funny guy.

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  6. Great review! Glad you liked this one too. Byrne and Efron were definitely the highlights here. I had no idea Efron had this in him and Byrne... holy shit, girl has some serious comedy skills. Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more of her in these kinds of roles. So damn funny.

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    1. Thank you! Have you seen her in Get Him to the Greek? She was brilliant there.

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  7. Definitely a funny film that I'm glad I saw. Rose Byrne is hilarious. I love her Kevin James line. I want her to do more comedies like this.

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    1. She was brilliant, I definitely prefer seeing her in comedies.

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  8. Ugh I really wanted to like this one! You're right--it did have all the right ingredients, but it just didn't add up in hilarity points the way This is the End did for me :( I definitely agree about the brilliant visuals of the party scenes, and the surprising acting by Zac Efron...despite it being a silly (yet dark at times) role, he proved to be more than a pretty face. Good review, girl!

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    1. Thank you! Efron was really good. I did like him in The Paperboy but he was even better here. Given the genre and overall tone of the movie it was a surprisingly deep performance.

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  9. Great review! I'm hoping to see this movie soon, it looks great! Rose Byrne is just amazing, and terribly underrated too.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you'll like it. Byrne is finally getting some praised for this one, many reviewers mentioned that she is the best thing in the movie.

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  10. The babies are sooo cute. That baby continually turning around is just precious. Babies are so honest. That's what I love about them.

    Admittedly, I'm not a Seth Rogen fan. I don't really care for his type of humor. So I will probably skip it. I love Rose Byrne though. She has grown on me over the years.

    Like you, I don't really find the younger men (like Effron) to be attractive either. I always think that men need a little gray on their head and a little meat to their bones.

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    1. If you love Rose then the film is worth seeing for her, she is really wonderful here :)

      I never liked younger guys, very rarely guys my own age even. I don't think I could ever find anyone younger than me attractive, though Efron is actually older than me by 2 years. He looks younger, though :)

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  11. Great review but I'm going to pass on this one. Rogen and his brand of humor instantly turns me off. For me it is the same thing over and over. He definitely has an audience though.

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    1. Thanks! I get that. For example I never find those quirky Anderson movies this funny but I see people raving about them. I guess my sense of humor is less...sophisticated :)

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  12. This is one of the best things I have ever read on your site, and that's saying something. Great closing bit, too. That's pretty much perfect.

    I wish I had written this.

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    1. Thank you so much!! I actually wrote that while being completely exhausted I'm glad it's not shitty :)

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  13. Sounds like a lot of fun. I generally like Seth Rogen's brand of comedy but it's great to hear he's ably supported by the rest of the cast.

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    1. It's really a fun movie! But yeah I'd say it's very much for people who like Rogen.

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  14. Terrific review! I still haven't seen this one, but I'll hopefully catch it next week. I've been a Rogen fan since Knocked Up, and I agree he's always reliable, even underrated, like in Take This Waltz. Can't wait to check this one out!

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    1. Awesome that you'll see it soon! If you like Rogen you'll definitely like this one, he is so funny here. He really always delivers and it's not easy to make people laugh, he deserves more love.

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