Tom Basham

Neighbors

In This Just OUT on May 9, 2014 at 5:26 pm

NeighborsI really wanted to laugh at “Neighbors,” like I do in my own back yard. When I get home I am going to gaze up at my neighbor’s balcony and say, “Oh Belushi, where art thou?”

Mac Radner (Seth Rogen from “This is the End”) and his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne from The Internship”) are so happy with their new baby and their new home they think it’s cool when a fraternity moves in next door. They make friends with fraternity president Teddy (Zac Efron from “The Lucky One”) and merely ask him to keep it down a little.

I was not shocked to find out this fraternity is already on probation, with one strike against them. Soon, with Mac and Kelly’s help, they get two strikes. If Mac and Kelly can figure out how to get them one more strike, Dean Gladstone (Lisa Kudrow from “The Comeback”) will yank their charter. Now don’t go looking for parallels with Animal House (1978) because that movie was a hilarious comedy about a rogue fraternity.

I can tell they tried to make a funny movie. They strung together a handful of bits that made you smile, even if we have seen them all before. This seemed like the kind of Hollywood concoction we get these days, completely assembled by the marketing department with all the right ingredients: a funny premise, ripe with conflict, and a heavy dose of Seth Rogen. Stir it all up and you will get $100 million at the box office. All that might be true, but that is not how you make a good movie.

The biggest fault I find with this effort is the script. The pair of novice writers, Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, show they do not know what they are doing. Sure, they can write a few gags, and Rogen can make anything funny, but you have to pull it all together. You have to have real and interesting characters and not make everyone in the fraternity seem interchangeable. They also need to find out how to write an ending.

At least Harold Ramis (“Animal House” screenwriter) was not around to see what they must have thought was an homage to him. The difference here is that everyone in “Animal House” was playing it straight and we couldn’t stop laughing. With “Neighbors,” you can see them playing for the joke every time.

The good parts of this movie seemed like a bad “Saturday Night Live” skit, and for that reason I can only give this movie 1 star out of 5. Don’t be fooled by the “graphic nudity” label either, you will be further disappointed.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:
 https://bashmovies.wordpress.com/

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