Saturday, May 10, 2014


I rarely feel the need to explain why I went to a movie, but in this case, I do.  Neighbors is the lead film in what should be a prime summertime movie weekend, and it is no summertime movie:  no real action, very few explosions, no superheros, no aliens, no ludicrous car chases, none of what one seeks in a summer blockbuster.  The trailer made it look dumb, which of course it is.  

But.  Rottentomatoes had its critics rating at 74% and its audience rating at 80%.  Scott and I were both in the mood for something that would make us laugh.  On a hot day, a matinee seemed like a nice treat. 

So we went. 

I definitely laughed a lot, sometimes because the movie was genuinely funny, other times because it was uncomfortably and occasionally unintentionally humorous.  The plot was basically what the trailers had led us to expect, but at least some of the small turns weren't what we anticipated, which was nice.  The four leads--Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, and Dave Efron, who had a supporting role but did well enough with it that he felt like a lead--turned in reasonable performances and clearly tried to take their characters seriously.  Many, many people in small roles delivered strong performances.  All in all, the filmmakers executed their mission quite well. 

What made me have mixed feelings was a fundamental problem with the story:  I couldn't quite like anyone in it.  That lack of affection led to an even more damaging issue:  I almost never felt sympathetic to anyone in the movie.

So, if you're looking for some cheap and easy laughs, Neighbors will deliver.  If you want anything more, though, give it a pass.

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