Bad Neighbours – Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Seth Rogan, Zak Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Lisa Kudrow
In cinemas May 3rd
This film is simply called Neighbours elsewhere in the world with the “Bad” being added for the benefit of Irish, UK and Australian audiences – perhaps lest we confuse it with a certain long running daytime soap.
Rogan and Byrne play Mac and Kelly Radner, young parents who are adjusting to life with their gurgling new addition. Indeed the first 15 minutes of this film where they try and retain their sense of self while ensuring that they also meet the needs of their baby daughter are some of the funniest scenes in the movie. Their idyllic world is thrown into disarray when a fraternity from a local university set up home next door.
Led by party boy Teddy (Efron) and his sidekick Pete (Franco) they are determined to throw the greatest parties in the history of their frat house. However this is at odds with Mac and Kelly’s desire for a quiet life and what ensues is a battle of wills as both sides go out of their way to antagonise the other.
Rogan has a tendency to be ridiculously over the top in roles but here he is actually quite sedate. Yes, there is a certain degree of silliness but on the whole he contains himself. He and Byrne are somewhat lacking the chemistry you would expect from a couple who are supposed to have been together since college but this is made up for by Efron and Franco. They prove a surprisingly effective double act and someone should really give them their own TV show (although they are far too old to be playing college students)!
There is nothing here that you haven’t seen before but that’s OK. Some of the gags miss the mark but on the whole this is funny enough throughout to keep the viewer engaged. It works best when the actors are actually squaring off with each other as opposed to doing some shtick and anyone who has had a new baby or noisy neighbour will be able to relate to the story.
This is unlikely to become a comedy classic but as a way to kill 97 minutes you could do worse and it will definitely tickle your funny bone on some level.