NEIGHBORS

neighbors POSTERThe director keeps it moving, the jokes keep on coming, and the sweet moments somehow avoid being precious. It’s the latest product of Apatowian alchemy, that process by which a movie can be filled with more cunt and dick references than you can shake a dildo at (there’s that, too) and still manage to wind up reaffirming family values. Everyone seems to be having a great time— and except for one serious miscasting, the ensemble delivers beautifully. Zac Efron has recently shown signs of aspiring to Serious Acting (PARKLAND, THE PAPER BOY). That’s a shame, because he’s a natural at light comedy and a body like that shouldn’t have to be covered up in grownup clothes. Seth Rogan, on the other hand, is maybe a little too game for taking his shirt (sometimes more) off, but if doing so can skewer as obnoxious a target as Abercrombie & Fitch, I say go for it, Seth! The real revelation here is Dave Franco as Zac’s #1 frat bro Pete. He wins many of his laughs so quietly, you don’t realize for a beat how funny he just was, and when it’s time to get serious, he turns on a dime. This is an actor who is now well out of his more famous brother’s shadow. As for the miscasting, in the Apatow universe, the role of Rogan’s wife would have been a slam dunk for Leslie Mann. Rose Byrne resembles Mann, but for me, her Australian accent gives her a touch of “class” that makes her seem like she’s slumming rather than half of an in-your-face, profanity-spouting couple. But it’s far from a deal breaker: when NEIGHBORS pops up on cable, it’ll always be an excuse to stop surfing. — Jeff Schultz

 

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