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‘Neighbors’ a big party of a movie

May 28, 2014
By Tony Rutherford ( , Graffiti

Alcohol. Weed. Loud music. Spontaneous (sometimes) protected casual sex. Doesn't sound like a suitable environment in which to raise a new baby, right?

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) Radner face an altered 'hood' when a U-Haul carrying college guys and girls pulls up and hoists the words "Delta Psi" on the house next door. The admittedly bored parents put little Stella in the stroller for a get acquainted conversation. Invited to join the fun, the couple have a blast enjoying a college party flashback. Except frat president Teddy (Zac Efron) tunes out the awkward hint to "keep it down" and never answers his phone to maintain the keep-the-police-out-of-it pact.

Prepare for a worthy new entry into the "Animal House" genre, where juvenile and crude antics affect both the college-aged and hipsters. Thankfully, a string of (pardon the pun) tit for tat "get even" pranks reduce reliance on continual "F" words (a la Judd Apatow style). However, it stays away from "Wolf of Wall Street" excess; translation, shirts come off, pants mostly stay on with no close up nudity, though the latter is strongly implied. Think "Road Trip."

Stringing audience laughter tested gag after gag, "Neighbors" boasts wacky wit (the dean's headline game; the lengthy DeNiro tribute; Mac and Ted fighting) and crudities (involving hazing and milk). It's a toss up whether the adults or college kids descend to worst of the worst conduct.

As this critic has predicted, the weaning of the pendulum from extreme violence (no bones broken, no bullets fired) has reopened the flood gates for equality in well camera positioned baring of the human body. Gratuitous exposures avoided. Greek lifestyle stereotyping advances the storyline curled around adults acting like irresponsible children ploys.

Hopping along, just for the spite of it, filmmakers soundly remind all of the penalties for constant misbehavior i.e. your future (and its without social media misbehavior). Credit them for sticking to smoking pot and not sniffing dust. Their "please be responsible" skit stressing protected sex is a jewel. Moms and dads, all this physical, psychological, economic and emotional dysfunction could be stopped; it was your handling of the "D" word that scarred their psyche.

Just one question, who's moving in next door for the sequel?



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