Neighbors is currently in the top ten most streamed movies on Hulu.
By Nathan Kamal | Released
Seth Rogen recently stepped away from comedy and starred in Steven Spielberg’s co-star The Fabelmans and the probably-cancelled to be mortal. However, he never seemed afraid to return to the raunchy, offbeat humor that has made him one of the most unlikely leads in recent history. A prime example: 2014 Neighborswhich is currently in the top ten most streamed movies on Hulu.
Neighbors Stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, as a couple of new parents, narrowly avoid acknowledging that they can no longer live the freewheeling, party-loving days of their 20s as a fraternity run by Zec Efron and his best friend/second-in commander Dave Franco is moving in next door. In the great tradition of raunchy college comedy, a rivalry between the two houses develops, with wacky jokes and overly elaborate pranks ensuing. In contrast to largely similar films such as Old school and National Lampoon’s Animal House, Neighbors has a surprising emotional depth.
This particular Seth Rogen film came just after the peak of producer Judd Apatow’s dominance in Hollywood, followed by the undeniable excellence of films like Pineapple Express and directly under the ambiguous received train wreck and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Although Apatow was not involved Neighbors, the DNA of his style of anarchic comedy is heavily mixed into the film. Directed by Nicholas Stoller (who previously directed Forgot Sarah Marshall and the newer ones brothers) and written by the duo of Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, all bringing a familiar brand of gritty but heartfelt comedy to the table.
In a simpler film, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne would reject the connection outright and it would be a classic slobs vs. snobs scenario. Neighbors Bringing in a more nuanced narrative where Rogen and Byrne actually bond with the fraternity before falling out over noise complaints. Similarly, Zac Efron begins the film not as the campus super jock about to graduate, as expected, but as a surprisingly sensitive and thoughtful youth who genuinely believes the purpose of a connection is to promote chivalry and brotherhood .
It’s the little details that make a film Neighbors stand out from similar films, which are full of jokes about condoms on lawns and topiary trimmed to resemble various profanities. As much as Seth Rogen and Zac Efron’s conflict escalates into Machiavellian conspiracies and a beer mug, it never loses sight of the fact that both men are confused by the changing circumstances of their lives and have a lot in common. Except which actor they envision as Batman.
Like many Seth Rogen comedies from that era, Neighbors is a surprisingly cute film, even if it treads much of the same ground of immature guys slowly learning to grow up knocked open or The 40 year old virgin. At least it gives us another chance to hear the famous Seth Rogen laugh.