To think I had nearly forgotten why teen comedies are as stigmatised as they are, thank God “Bad Neighbours” came along to refresh my sub standard memory. Another “adventure” filled with disgusting comedy that often falls completely flat on its face, in the shadow of genuine comic timing. “22 Jump Street” is the obvious comparison, a film that is actually really funny if a little juvenile. Now there is “Bad Neighbours” (simply called “Neighbours” in the States) that is actually really dumb if a lot juvenile. I’ve seen zygotes more mature than this.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) Radner are two grown ups suffering from reverse “Jump Street” syndrome. That is, they are clearly twenty somethings trying to pretend they are old and mature enough to be parents. All they want is to be able to have their baby sleep through the night so that they can continue to live their lives without the threat of Freddy Kreuger pouncing on them at work. Much to their dismay, a college fraternity moves in next door and despite their promises, makes more noise than my brain did as it tried to convince me to stop watching. “That wouldn’t be professional” I say to brain, “Being an amateur wouldn’t be so bad” it says back. The last thing I needed was more excuses to get up from my chair, I considered disconnecting my brain — but then I might actually start to enjoy “Neighbours” — and that just wouldn’t be right.
Teddy (Zac Effron) and Pete (Dave Franco are the President and Vice President of the frat, and they have a few tricks up their sleeves to keep the aged (apparently) Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne off their backs. It turns into an all out war between each house, an all out war fought with the arsenal of the “Prank Patrol” which was presumably left out for Nicholas Stoller to steal and make a movie out of. I assume their wasn’t a sign there that said “these props make terrible movies” but in a parallel universe I’m sure that’s not the case. I envy that universe.
Seth Rogen is his usual fat child self in this one, and Rose Byrne puts on an Australian accent which just comes off as an annoyance. Their child is supposed to be the “factor X” of the whole movie but she is quickly forgotten by both the parents whilst they leave the house to go and party with the new neighbours. Even if you do have a fancy phone app that acts as a baby monitor, which I doubt Rose would hear that whilst she makes out with women and men respectively in front of Seth as part of their master plan, isn’t that very illegal? Doesn’t matter, cops are dumb as nails and are willing to accept that no harm has been done just because the lights aren’t green in a house. These cops are called pigs to make them feel better, not to put them down.
Everything feels very pointless and well trodden as the movie progresses. Yes, well done, you were able to give the college neighbours a strike. Three strikes are needed before they are forced off of the property, oh goody. An excuse to split the film into thirds and repeat each one with only a thread of plot to inter connect them and give them a beginning and an end. The film is derivative of itself, and it is just loud and obnoxious with very few laughs to split things up. It is disgusting too, it amazes me what people can get away with fitting into a movie rated “15” now. Bin Laden made videos less edgy than this.
It isn’t funny and it isn’t fun. “Neighbours” is a collection of gags thrown together with little to make them smart or even amusing. I only enjoyed that I could recite the “Exekiel 25:17” quote from Pulp Fiction from start to finish in time with the teen dressed as Samuel L. Jackson from “Jackie Brown”.
Using movie references as a way to get into my pants isn’t enough, though it’s a step in the right direction.