Tuesday 20 May 2014

Review: Bad Neighbours

Year: 2014
Director: Nicholas Stroller
Screenplay: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O'Brien
Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco

Synopsis is here:

If you squint a bit, you could possibly imagine Bad Neighbors (Neighbors in the U.S) as a sequel to 2008's Knocked Up. The appearance of Seth Rogen; here as stoned, nearly adult trying to cope with becoming a father and getting a little older, feels like an accurate continuation point for the comedian. Despite not being written by Rogen, Bad Neighbors harbors the same loosey goosey style that we've come to expect when have when Rogen appears on screen. Yet Bad Neighbours would appeal to me more if it simply had more focus. After This is the End (2013), I'm really starting to miss actual jokes.

Bed Neighbors may have a screenplay credited to two people, yet the film still gravitates towards shiftless improvisation which slowly becomes more tiresome as the film wears on. Stroller is more than willing to let scenes drift into unamusing and jarring dreariness as you realise the actors are trying too hard with their ad-libbing. The stoner references and the college party hijinks still have a certain allure to me, I guess (the film handles itself better than, say Project X), yet watching Zac Efron and Dave Franco push a "bros before hoes" sequence until it fizzles to an unfunny puddle is generally not needed. A shame as Franco has great comic presence, while Eforn shines brightest in the film as a whole.

The film is sporadically amusing, with some of the (actual) jokes and quips actually striking quite hard on my funny bone. The airbag sequence from the films marketing spots still made me laugh out loud in the cinema, while the Robert De Niro party appeals to the film nerd in me. As does the use of Batman actors to show the gap in two side's ages. There's a small amount of quirky moments that kept me from doing what I witnessed a couple do halfway through – walk out.

That said, I found myself more interested in which role we could see Zac Efron play next. He has a right amount of charm and presence to play an effective sociopath. The fact that I was more interested in Efron's future than the cheap gags he was performing on screen, says to me that the film just wasn't doing its job to it's full potential.