Writers: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien
Plot: A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.
Cast: Seth Rogen as Mac Radner
Rose Byrne as Kelly Radner
Zac Efron as Teddy Sanders
Dave Franco as Pete
I’m not a Seth Rogen fan. The only movie I’ve seen featuring him was “This is the end”, and I thought it was boring and unfunny. Moreover, a movie featuring Seth Rogen will most likely prompt me to ignore its existence, instead of making me want to see it (is it because of his face?) – and that’s exactly what happened with Bad Neighbours. But, you got to do what you got to do, so I just went in the theater with the lowest possible expectations, and came out pleasantly surprised. I love it when a movie does that. Still, Bad Neighbours isn’t great and has flaws I’ll be sure to point out soon.
Bad Neighbours is about a couple, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), who have just moved into their new house with their little daughter. They don’t want to feel and be seen by friends as old, but at the same time they realise their life has been irreversibly changed by their baby. So when a fraternity, led by Teddy (Zac Efron), moves in the neighbouring house, the couple act friendly and participate to a party, hoping to get the fraternity to keep quiet in the future. When this doesn’t happen, the couple and the fraternity declare “war” to each other.
One of the best qualities of this movie is that it succeeds, more or less, in being a comedy. In this modern world, plagued by Adam Sandler and similar untalented money-making people, comedies are definitely becoming a genre more intelligent people avoid. In Bad Neighbours, however, even some primitive or infantile jokes are able to make most people laugh. Another commendable feature of the movie is its cast: all of the main actors are very good – Rose Byrne really stands out, even compared to Rogen – and those in smaller roles, while not being important (almost) at all, are fine.
Now for the negative characteristics. While some jokes work, others are so extreme they just make you uncomfortable, and many scenes make you feel what Germans call “fremdschämen” – the embarrassment felt on behalf of someone else. Because of all of this, the movie is often difficult to watch. Also, if you catch yourself trying to uncover the reason or the logic behind some (many) of the actions – like for example, why aren’t the other neighbours ever complaining about the noise? – you’ll find there is none. This is a frustrating trademark of bad movies that will probably hit you once you exit the theater. But, ultimately, if you’re looking for a couple of good laughs in a not very smart comedy, Bad Neighbours is a good choice.