Director: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Seth Rogan, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jerrad Carmichael.
Written by: Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien
Running Time: 96 mins
Release date: 3rd May 2014
Is it me? Did I miss the point? Miss something fairly obvious? Bad Neighbours has been getting generally decent reviews, yet I’m not absolutely sure why? Having just returned from a screening, this is a film with an excellent central premise that is lacking in one major quality…actual genuine laughs!
Mac and Kelly Radner are a simple married couple with a baby girl who have just bought their dream house in a perfectly lovely neighbourhood. The house next door is empty and they hope for another simple married couple to move in. Wrong! Instead, they get a fraternity from a local college, led by Teddy Sanders. Scared that things might get too raucous and keep their baby up all night, the Radners go to make their peace and Teddy tells them if things do get out of control with the noise, to tell him and not call the police. One fateful night, Teddy doesn’t answer his phone so they are left with no option but to contract the law. Then war begins between the couple and the frat boys.
I liked the central idea. It certainly has plenty of comic potential. What we get instead is a rehash of every slackers comedy from this decade. There is absolutely nothing original here. We’ve seen it all before and in some cases, done with a whole lot more panache. So we get fights involving men with dildos, crass body part jokes, drug taking and a stream of obscenities that if you think the F word is hilarious then hold on to your sides, they will burst.
It comes across as incredibly lazy, with scenes of debauchery in overlong montages of the parties in the frat house, bathed in neon and ultraviolet light to fill in the time. Occasionally the writers try to make statements about growing old and having responsibilities, while all the time all they want to do is add another penis joke or some sexual innuendo that is hardly subtle.
Maybe I’ve sat through far too many Seth Rogan style comedies that I know the score now so well that I can almost predict what is going to happen or what is going to be said. Maybe I’m just bored with Mr Rogan’s immature style of humour that was done so much better with the likes of John Belushi and Bill Murray. Maybe if I was 12 years old I would find this the funniest movie of the year. Well I’m not and it’s not.
So we have Rogan trying to be a responsible parent along with the talented Rose Byrne but to be honest, with parents like them, I’d be calling social services to have their kid removed. Their foul-mouthed, drug-induced antics in which they try to have sex in different parts of the house with the child watching is hardly amusing. Ms Byrne can do so much better than this.
As can Zac Efron, who has already made one wrong step this year with the dire That Awkward Moment. If you thought that was bad…Mr Erfon has proved he’s more than just High School Musical (The Paperboy, for example) and he does the best with the material, even self-mocking, yet he too deserves so much better than this limp, lame, childish excuse of a comedy.
There is one genuinely funny and original gag in the whole film but you can catch that in the trailer and the baby girl steals every scene she’s in (seriously a very burly man next to me kept going “aaahhhh!” every time she appeared).
This is a waste of a perfectly good idea and a waste of my time. I know it will make tons of money and there will be loads out there who will say it’s funny and that I’m wrong. Maybe I am. Maybe I just need something far more sophisticated than another joke about oral sex or having your pubic hair removed in a painful manner. Laugh? No I didn’t! One word from the title is, at least, actuate!