Out of all the films I’ve seen this year, Bad Neighbours was the one I was unsure about. Whilst I’m really like the cast, the premise of the film made it sound like a film I wouldn’t enjoy. After hearing the overwhelmingly positive reviews for the film though I decided to give it a go and I found to film to be okay. Whilst the cast are all game, the jokes don’t hit as often as they should.
The plot concerns Mac and Kelly, a newlywed couple with a baby daughter who spent all of their money doing up a house in a suburban neighbourhood. After a fraternity moves next door, a series of misunderstandings take place which lead to a prank war developing between the fraternity and the couple with the couple intending to get the fraternity kicked out of the house. One of the big things that works about the plot is the central concern over youth. A major reason for the misunderstandings that cause the plot is that Mac and Kelly are so concerned with appearing cool and young that the completely flub their attempts to get the fraternity to keep the noise down, with a lot of this being due to them not wanting to appear old to the fraternity and being unable to accept their responsibilities and wanting to relive their youth. At one point, they clearly win but decide to keep attacking the fraternity because they haven’t had as much fun in years. At the same time, Teddy and Pete, the leaders of the fraternity, see concerns over their futures. Whilst Pete uses the fraternity as a side issue whilst he focuses on his architecture degree in order to have a good future, Teddy is completely focused on the fraternity, with it being mentioned that he rarely goes to lectures, with Mac and Kelly reminding Teddy that he has to focus on life after the fraternity. Whilst all of this works in the film, it’s a shame that not all of the jokes work. Whilst a lot of the physical humour in the film works, the film all to often relies on swearing to deliver a joke and as the film goes on, the attempts to create jokes this way really don’t work. It’s really hard to describe why a lot of the jokes don’t work without spoiling the entire film though so I’ll just say that the jokes are hit and miss.
The cast provide a big reason why the jokes that do work hit the mark. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne work brilliantly off each other and their attempts at looking cool come across as brilliantly awkward. Dave Franco and Zac Efron also work really well with each other, with their being a good sense of friendship between the two. Out of these though, the standout is Efron, he has really natural charisma and a lot of the best jokes go to him. He also gives a good show of the fear of what will happen to him in the future, along with a sense of kindness that lets you know why people like him, especially seen late on in the film where one of the schemes Mac and Kelly do to get the fraternity removed is foiled by him being nice. There are also some laughs to be had at the sight of some of the actors in the fraternity setting, in particular Christopher Mintz-Plasse and (for anyone who saw Submarine) Craig Roberts. There are some members of the cast that don’t work as well though, Jerrod Carmichael doesn’t really get much to do whilst Carla Gallo and Ike Barinholtz are incredibly annoying and a lot of the jokes that fall flat in the film are due to them.
Overall, Bad Neighbours is just okay. Whilst the main cast and the message of the film are really good, the supporting cast are either wasted or annoying and the majority of the jokes didn’t make me laugh which, for a comedy, is the main thing that needs to happen.
My Rating: 3/5