NEIGHBORS – Review by Susan Granger

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Real estate values can plummet overnight. Just ask newlywed Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne), the anxious, sleep-deprived parents of Stella, their adorable baby girl. Just as they’re adjusting to living a more adult life in quiet suburbia, they discover that the Delta Psi Beta fraternity has moved into the house next-door. Yearning to appear ‘cool’ to the college dudes, the Radners indulge in friendly, welcoming overtures: a perfectly rolled joint, sharing magic mushrooms. But that doesn’t stop the frat’s president Teddy (Zac Efron) and vice-president Pete (Dave Franco) from adopting a defiantly raucous, party-hearty attitude. So it’s not long before the beleaguered couple must summon the police, which leads to a frenzied, ever-escalating neighborhood feud. Read on…
Visually inventive director Nicholas Stoller, working with talented newbie screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, stages an impressive bacchanal, filled with pranks, debauchery, slapstick violence and repeated jokes about smoking pot and penis size. It’s far raunchier and less coherent than Stoller’s previous comedies: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Five-Year Engagement” and “Get Him to the Greek.” Comedian Seth Rogen (“This Is the End,” TV’s “Arrested Development”) makes the transition to parenthood, while Rose Byrne (“Bridesmaids,” TV’s “Damages”), relishing the righteous, foul-mouthed repartee, deftly keeps up with him in the comedy department. Having long ago graduated from high school musicals, often-shirtless Zac Efron grasps the unspoken, yet ominous reality that, inevitably, antagonistic, alpha-male Teddy will someday have to grow up too. The supporting cast includes Ike Barinholtz as Mac’s and Kelly’s buddy, along with Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Craig Roberts as the frat boys. Lisa Kudrow (TV’s “Friends”) does her bit as the university dean who reveals that the fraternity is on probation with only one disciplinary strike left before it’s shut down.
Even with some surprising cameos, “Neighbors” doesn’t measure up to its grossed-out predecessors like “Animal House” or “Old School,” offering several epilogues while desperately searching for an appropriately funny ending.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Neighbors” is an energetic, engagingly stupid 7, exemplifying outrageous, intergenerational warfare.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.