“Neighbors” is exactly what you would expect from a Seth Rogan comedy.
It’s crass, crude and unapologetically vulgar. It’s also pretty funny.
Rogan and Rose Byrne play Mac and Kelly, a married couple with a newborn girl and a new home trying to adjust to the family life.
Mac and Kelly seem content on a peaceful existence, until a fraternity moves in next door – led by frat president Teddy (Zac Efron) and his VP and best friend Pete (Dave Franco).
At first Mac and Kelly try to co-exist with their new neighbors, but things get heated – and quickly escalate – after the couple calls the police complaining about too much noise.
This sets “Neighbors” into motion, with a series of outrageous stunts as the two sides try to gain the upper hand in their private war.
Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien’s screenplay pulls no punches when it comes to R-rated humor.
There are probably way more jokes about the male anatomy than any film in recent memory (one of the “Neighbors” director Nicholas Stoller’s previous films “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is the first movie that comes to mind), but to its credit, there are more laughs than groans.
What makes “Neighbors” smart is how it shows that Mac and Teddy really aren’t too far apart, with Mac wishing he could still be Teddy while Teddy fears that he will one day be Mac.
Rogan is essentially playing the same stoner character he has played the last 10 years, but he’s fine – especially since the rest of the cast picks up the comic slack.
I continue to be impressed with Efron’s growth as an actor. He shows a nice comedic touch here, with a bit of self-deprecating humor that plays off his good looks.
Franco has some fun moments as well, as perhaps the only person who thinks about the repercussions of the situation.
But it is Byrnes who shines the most.
The 34-year-old Australian actress who had to play the straight-laced woman in “Bridesmaids” gets the chance to show her raunchy side here. She is up to the challenge, even when perhaps the signature bit of the film falls flat, showing she can get just as raunchy as the boys.
Byrne alone makes “Neighbors” worth seeing.
It may not be as smart and funny as Rogan’s last film, “This Is the End,” but it is still pretty enjoyable.
Also in theaters
If you are looking for something truly a little more family oriented, the latest comic book adaptation “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (B) should do the trick.
The fifth web slinger film since 2002 (the second in this reboot) is overstuffed with plot threads flying everywhere, but there is just enough there to keep the series alive.
This installment begins with Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) enjoying the fame from being Spider-Man, but also torn about continuing his relationship with Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) after promising her late father that he would keep her out of harm’s way.
Peter is also trying to come to terms with why his parents left him with his aunt (Sally Field), a question that starts to be answered when Peter’s old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to claim his family’s lucrative business.
While Peter faces all these personal struggles, a new enemy emerges in the form of Electro (Jamie Foxx), a super-fan of Spider-Man who becomes a threat after a horrible accident.
There is a lot to digest in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but to director Marc Webb’s credit, the film moves along as briskly as a 2-hour, 32-minute film can.
The action sequences are well-staged, but the film seems more concerned with Peter and Gwen’s relationship. At least it does lead to a strong pay-off in the final act.
Garfield and Stone are fine, but both are too old to play their respective characters and Garfield’s Peter kind of comes off as a bit of a jerk at times.
Foxx is the real story in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” As the sad sack stalker turner super villain, Foxx really breathes life into the franchise. When he is on screen the film is, dare I say, electric.
It’s a fresh element in a franchise already full of a lot of familiar parts.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence and is now playing at the Regal Greenwood Mall Stadium 10, Highland Cinemas in Glasgow and the Franklin Drive-In.