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:: Bad Neighbours

The last few years haven’t been kind to the whole comedy genre… especially with the films coming out of Hollywood. Adam Sandler has continued on his merry way of delivering absolute rubbish and he seems to have dragged down most other comedy teams down with him. The exceptions were Ted and Bad Grandpa, films that nailed there mark and achieved exactly what they set out to do… and that is make people laugh. Now comes another film that could join the class of those two – Bad Neighbours – which in my case made me laugh so much I couldn’t breathe.

With Nicholas Stoller (the director who brought us Forgetting Sarah Marshall) at the helm Bad Neighbours sees young married couple Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) trying to come to the terms that they are now the parents of a young daughter named Stella. They both want to remain cool, they want to attend raves, smoke their weed but somehow still be good parents. It seems to be a losing battle though with the pair falling asleep before they even make it out the front door at times.

Then their world literally changes when the house next door to them is bought by a college fraternity. A frat house that is led by the misdirected Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), the nerdy but cool Pete (Dave Franco) and the appendage ‘gifted’ Scoonie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). At first Mac and Kelly try to befriend the frat and it seems like the film is heading down the ‘buddy film’ route but then an incident involving the Police soon turns things sour.

With the division lines drawn between Mac and Kelly and Teddy and co a ‘brutal’ neighbourhood war breaks out which sees the Frat house still trying to organise an event they will always be remembered for while finding themselves under the watchful eye of their Dean, Carol Gladstone (Lisa Kudrow) who will do anything to keep their college from ‘negative headlines.’ With this in mind Mac and Kelly devise a plan to bring down the Frat.

The reason Bad Neighbours works so well is because as director Stoller leads this film to go directly where he wants it to go, and do what he wants it to do – and that is make people laugh. Sure the screenplay could have gone into some massive back stories for all the characters involved, but that would have bogged down the film and made it a bit of snore-fest with some laughs just splattered here and then… much the same as Judd Apatow’s recent efforts.

But Stoller and crew take a different route here. Instead it sets up nearly all the characters as likable but reveals very little about anything else. You like them, you care for them… bang that’s all it really needs. Stoller then loads up on gags that actually work – the proof being that in the large audience I saw this film in that people of all ages were reduced to laughing until they cried.

There does need to be a little warning though, at times the humour in the film does very crass, and if you didn’t like films like Ted or American Pie etc then this isn’t the film for you. To those that did like these kinds of films though you will be in absolute heaven as the script tries, and pulls off, varies styles of humour from witty one liners, to sight gags and some brilliant gross-out humour that will at times have you laughing while trying to cover your eyes.

Also making Bad Neighbours the good film that it becomes is the cast. Seth Rogen is on absolute fire here. He points behind him the disappointment of films like The Green Hornet and once again reminds audiences why he should still be considered one of the best comedic leading men of our age. He is also well supported by Rose Byrne who completely surprised Australian audiences when she seemingly turned her back on dramatic acting and was cast in Bridesmaids. Since then she has shown just what a fine comedic actress she is, and she continues that here in Bad Neighbours as she plays a Mum desperate to be cool. Some actresses of Byrne’s calibre might agree to do a film like this but shirk away from some of the more risqué scenes, but here Byrne gladly lines up with Rogen to deliver some ‘interesting’ scenes including one that sees her get ‘milked like a cow.’

Despite the limits of their characterisation the actors behind the Frat boy team also come to the fore. Christopher Mintz-Plasse simply does what is asked of him while Dave Franco seems to turn the clock back and seems much younger then he actually is. Like Byrne he also once again reminds audiences that he too is up to pulling off comedic roles when it is asked of him. The star of the Frat boys though is of course Zac Efron who has delivered a mixture of films since ending the High School Musical franchise. From gritty films such as The Paperboy to comedies such as this one he has really revealed himself as a young actor who is more than just a pretty face and can deliver whatever is asked of him.

Bad Neighbours is the kind of film where everything comes together perfectly. A hilarious script, some great comedic directing and a cast willing to go to great lengths for laughs all come together and deliver one of the funniest films to have surfaced in a long time. It’s crass and wrong but this is a film will have you in stitches.