Neighbors is a funny film. But barely. It's also mind numbingly unoriginal. And not barely...but astoundingly so. To the point where I wondered if the execs who approved the script had ever seen a rated R comedy in their entire lives? Compared to Seth Rogen's last film This Is The End, Neighbors felt like a rushed, half baked cash grab. I honestly chuckled at a few of the film's gags, and occasionally might have LOL'd once or twice, but spent most of the movie's run time laughing at how uninspired and repetitive Neighbors truly is.
Seth Rogen plays the same character he's been doing since 2007's Knocked Up and Zac Efron is cast against type as a uber masculine frat bro. You can already see where this is going right? The fat vs buff, old vs young, professional vs college lifestyle clashes are funny for all of five minutes. Maybe if we hadn't already seen a lifetime's worth of the same recycled dick/fart/weed jokes from previous Seth Rogen flicks they might have had a larger impact. Judd Apatow might not have had a hand in this film, but his disciples sure as hell did (from the director to the producers and movie's star) and as a result, Neighbor's reeks of his signature, sanitized, yuppified, Starbucks ready brand of comedy. Seth Rogen grumbles and complains, white dudes reference rap songs and get jiggy onscreen, everyone act's like 13 year old kids for a bit, everything works out hunky dory in the end. Wash, rinse, repeat.
There are a few bright spots in Neighbors, where the clouds part and the comedy gods grant us a few moments of levity. The always gorgeous Rose Byrne brings a few laughs and is actually kind of mesmerizing when she's on her Project Mayhem-ish mission to wreak havoc inside the frat house party. Comedian turned actor Jerrod Carmichael literally steals every scene he's in and young Craig Robets' epic portrayal of a sniveling fraternity pledge known only as "ass juice" provides some of the best laughs of the entire film. The rest of the movie is just outlandish buffoonery and empty pop culture references that I'm almost positive fly over the heads of the film's target audience. I mean seriously, how many of today's teens and swaggy college age viewers raised on twitter will even get those De Niro and Pacino references the members of Delta throw around, hell the whole joke is that the Delta's don't get them either.