Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Bad Neighbours – 2014

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“You shall love your neighbour as yourself”, Mark 12:23.

“Bad Neighbours” (Or “Neighbors” as it’s known in the United States) is latest from Nicholas Stoller (“Get Him to The Greek”) and stars Seth Rogen, Zach Efron and Rose Byrne. A couple who are still in the process of learning the demands and hardships of parenting are delighted when new neighbours come to town and move in next to them. Much to their surprise and proceeding concern, these neighbours are all part of a fraternity house.

This, like most of Stoller’s directorial filmography consists of constant crude, offensive humour that appeals to those of a younger demographic; the film is basically one big statement supporting this. Featuring excessive drug use, alcohol consumption and outright debauchery, “Bad Neighbours” is a basic story of young vs. old, yet it delves ever so slightly deeper than this.

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Cleverly, the film focuses on both the protagonist’s and antagonist’s lives and how the future is looking for both of them. Mac (Rogen) is constantly reminded by his co-workers that he is now “old” as he is a father, and he finds this difficult to accept, whilst Teddy (Efron) is reminded of his poor academic skills and struggles to see his friends progress in life and seek employment following college. There are underlying similarities between these two charters which is a respectable factor about the film, in amongst the idiocy of it all.

Rose Byrne is not a very highly regarded actress, even in Australia. Her career has taken her as far as the ‘B-Grade comedy’ stage and nothing much else (discounting “Insidious”). In “Bad Neighbours”, although she is still fitting the mould of the ‘B-Grade comedy’ film, she has at least been given a leading, or at east a large supporting role which gives her more freedom. She does quite a good job as Mac’s partner Kelly and surprisingly has one or two very funny lines. Her efforts in the film are commendable, but not remarkable.

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There are a few really startling moments in “Bad Neighbours”, mostly regarding the casting. Firstly, hilarious comedian Hannibal Buress makes a brief as the local police officer, a rather silly and underwhelming character in the grand scheme of things. Secondly, and most shockingly is Oliver Tate himself, Craig Roberts from “Submarine” as the dorky outcast, ever so politely nicknamed “assjuice”. Seeing Roberts in anything that is not “Submarine” is strange and somewhat unsettling. He will always be Oliver Tate, and sadly, someone unconvincing in any other role. There are several Tate-like traits in “assjuice”, but his character and his performance were a nice touch.

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Zach Efron earned a little bit of respect following this film. The 5 foot 8” singing, dancing, shirtless prancing piece of eye candy actually shows his acting skills, although only briefly. His character is quite stereotypical, annoying and unsatisfying, but what Efron does with Teddy is something to remark on.

A film that is essentially everything that the trailer offers up with no major twists, turns or surprises, “Bad Neighbours” is simply 90 minutes of unashamed crudeness, rudeness and political incorrectness. There aren’t constant laughs throughout but there definitely are one or two very enjoyable moments. Nothing special, but nothing horrendous.

2.5/5

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