Friday, May 9, 2014

Neighbors Review: Just Another Crude Comedy


Comedies can be a dime in a dozen. There is a variety of comedy types within the film genre. However, if there is one that seems to strive these days it is none other then the crude comedy. Crude Comedies are defined to be politically incorrect with their drug jokes and their sex references. Though I cannot figure it out, this subgenre strives with moviegoers. The latest crude comedy has arrived in theaters and it comes in the form of Neighbors.

Directed by Nicholas Stoller, Neighbors tells the story of a couple (played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) dealing with their new neighbors; who just so happen to be a college fraternity. After one incident goes to far, the frat house goes to war with the two adults and vice versa. This leads to the neighbors to plot against one another which then leads to chaos in the neighborhood. Sounds like a good enough plot for a comedy. However Neighbors turned out to be a comedy of errors; and I don't mean that in a good way.

Neighbors does have a simple plot, but the story is a weak link to the overall presentation. What killed the
story was pacing. The pacing of the movie moved like lightning at the beginning. Within the first ten minutes, you knew who the main characters were and what the major plot point was. By the 30 minute mark, the pacing begins to slow down so we can revel in the war between neighbors. However, the pacing does too good of job to slow down as the plot comes to an absolute halt. By the third act, I was too busy wondering when, and how, this film was going to end. It was not just pacing that killed the story for me but the direction as well. The story was all over the place and did not want to hone on plot points. I realize that a movie like Neighbors does not need a complex story, but if the story was going emphasize on certain points and not doing anything with them, then why introduce them at all?

When it came down to the performances in Neighbors, no one was bad. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne had an entertaining chemistry, and even Zach Efron did a decent job. However, like the story, what killed the character element was the direction. The characters in this movie may have been easy to comprehend, but they hard to follow. A prime example was the character of Pete (played by Dave Franco). At one point you think his character was going to go straight and put his fraternity behind him. Yet the next time we see him, he is not only partying with his frat brothers, he is willing to be with them until the very end. Did I miss the scene or something? Another problem were the side characters. Itwas not that the characters were bad or that were too many of them; but actors like Christopher Mintz-Plasse were just there and nothing more. What was the point? If any actor stood out, it was Rose Byrne as Emily.  It was not that Rose had a ground breaking performance, but the role of Emily was different for her.

Now we come the major factor: the comedy. There is no denying that Neighbors' humor was as crude as you could get; but that was about it. Like most comedies in this genre, this film's key punchline draw from its sick humor. However, like crude comedies before it, Neighbors seems to forget some of the most crucial elements of comedy; most notably timing. There were many bits in this film that just dragged on and that is something you cannot do with a joke. There are some entertaining bits, however those moments can't strive as Neighbors prefers to shove gross-out humor down your throat.

Neighbors is not a bad movie, but it is not a great one either. Due to its lack of direction, this comedy loses any kind of entertainment. The movie has plenty of crude moments for the sake of having gross-out humor, which made this movie-going experience hard to sit through. To put it simply: Neighbors is just another crude comedy; and I don't mean that in a good way.

1/2