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Mar 14th
10:10 pm
SXSW/'Neighbors' Roundup  



@neighborsmovie

More Interviews

HitFix



Young Hollywood



PopSugar



PopSugar Red Carpet



PBS



Extra



MORE I can't embed: eTalk on set, NYTimes, MTV w/ Josh Horowitz

More w/ not much/basically the same as we've heard before about Zac: YH w/ Ike, YH at tumblr thing, Inside Entertainment TV, AICN interview w/ Seth and Evan (tthat one has some cool misc tidbits but not really about Z, so click over to read if interested), ComingSoon with Nick and Evan

Yahoo/Ben Lyons Interview

Can't embed it (here's the link) but I wanted to include the part where Seth talks about Zac. I cleaned up the yahoo transcription and added a bit but still left out the interjections from Dave, etc.
"The writers came to me and [producer] Evan Goldberg with the idea for the movie and wanted me and Zac to be in it," Rogen explained of how the 26-year-old came on board. "I had met him a few times and he seemed like a nice kid and we invited him to the set of the movie we were filming at the time and I remember he drove up in his car with no shirt on which was psychotic I thought. I just remember thinking, isn't the seat belt uncomfortable against your tummy?

...

"We met with him and we told him the idea and he was really psyched about it, and seemed very eager to shed his 'High School Musical' persona and I'm still shocked at the jokes he's willing to make at his own expense.

...

We like really make fun of him a lot in life and in press. Like… yesterday, we literally shot a thing that the whole point was just making fun of him and he's totally cool with it and doesn't care at all. And he's so happy and nice and I want to f--k him."


More Reviews!

Not surprisingly the second and slower batch had more criticism. I know the film is at 100% right now on RT and that's sweet. But, not to be a Negative Nelly, it's not going to stay there. I've included a couple reviews (Collider and ComingSoon) that I think demonstrate what we should expect more regularly outside the spirited SXSW crowd. None of these even touch on how conservative viewers will react to the raunch. Overall it should stay fresh on RT and I'm hoping even, like some of Seth's other comedies, it will stick to the 80%+ range.

BadAssDigest, Meredith Borders
I'm still laughing at jokes from last night's SXSW premiere of Nicholas Stoller's Neighbors, a movie so goddamn hilarious that I couldn't catch my breath at times for the laughter. I already need to see it again because I missed so many lines that were obscured by the uproar rising from the audience. It's a movie that just made me happy, the kind of comedy that I already know I'm going to own and watch over and over.

Already on that list is Stoller's debut film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Neighbors reminds me of that movie's widespread appeal. What I love about Forgetting Sarah Marshall is that it's a romantic comedy that guys really like, too, and Neighbors is a gross-out bro film that women will also love. A huge part of that is Rose Byrne's incredible performance - she is absolutely the MVP of Neighbors. She is honestly amazing in the movie. I've always thought Byrne was great, but now I'm moderately obsessed with her. And so much of Neighbors' success is due to screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien, who have delivered a script layered in equal parts with hilarity and humanity...

Neighbors manages to accomplish something I would have thought impossible: it makes me sympathize with a frat guy. Hell, it makes me like a frat guy. 100% of that is due to Zac Efron's undeniable charm - and his unbelievable handsomeness. He's so hot in this film that I think it must actually be stated in any review written about Neighbors, as he spends most of the film shirtless, betraying a body that is beyond reason. As Richard Linklater once said in a Q&A for Orson Welles and Me: "The fucking camera loves this kid." 

But Teddy is also pretty sweet and sort of adorably dumb. He responds with true kindness to Mac and Kelly's welcoming gestures, and he really seems to enjoy spending time with them. He asks them to promise they'll call him before they call the cops if any of the frat parties get too loud, and they swear they will. When they later call the cops (to be fair, after several attempts to call him first), he seems a little heartbroken, before he grows sinister.
 
Neighbors works best because of this dynamic, in which we actually care about all of the characters. Rogen and Efron make an incredible comedic duo, and I'd love to see them paired up again in the future. The supporting cast (including Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Carla Gallo, Ike Barinholtz and a greater-than-ever Lisa Kudrow) are all terrific, too. But I can't go on enough about Byrne's performance. She is the riotous, dorky, unhinged badass, and she nails some truly heinous scenes with gusto. Mac and Kelly's marriage feels like a promise to young married couples who are considering children everywhere: you can still be irresponsible and weird and hilarious and fun. You can still party and prank and have stupid drunk sex. You can still be you. 

I can't wait for everyone to see Neighbors - it comes out May 9th, and I expect it to be a huge hit. It's a disgusting, rowdy comedy with an amazing amount of heart, and if it can make me feel bad for a fraternity, it can truly do anything.

AICN, Nordling
Nick Stoller's previous two comedies, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT, are very funny movies that really have only one issue that keeps them from true greatness - both run a bit long, and some selective editing could have streamlined them and made them better movies.  NEIGHBORS doesn't have that problem - it's as lean as a perfect steak, or Zac Efron's shirtless chest for the ladies, and there will be a lot of audiences who see NEIGHBORS that will be left breathless with laughter.  This has likely won Best Comedy Film of the Summer right out the gate, and it's only March.  What was shown at SXSW was called an unfinished edit, but minus the end credits, it's about as finished as it could be.  I'm afraid for them to edit any more, in fact, because it feels like a perfectly engineered comedy that will make audiences very happy when it opens this May…

Fortunately, the trailers are vague about certain plot points that come along, so if you've seen the trailer you've only seen a very little bit of the fun that NEIGHBORS offers.  When the battle lines are drawn, no punches are pulled, and there will be many jokes lost in the uproarious laughter of the audience.  I love that Seth Rogen steps back a bit to allow the other actors to have their comedic time in the sun, especially Zac Efron in what is easily his best performance.  But it's Rose Byrne that utterly walks away with NEIGHBORS.  She holds her own with the boys and delivers a really funny, honest performance.  One sequence, as Rose tries to crack open the ultimate "Bros before hos" bond between frat brothers, is brilliant and hilarious, and the audience erupted into applause just like when you see your heroes in a great action movie walk away slow-motion from a massive explosion.

All the supporting cast shines here, like Dave Franco, who has a superpower to rival the rest of the superheroes coming this summer, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Ike Barinholtz, Jason Mantzoukas, Lisa Kudrow, and Hannibal Buress are all equally funny and given great moments onscreen.  The irreverence of NEIGHBORS is its strongest asset, and director Stoller, with a script from Andrew Cohen and Brendan O'Brien, keeps everything moving at a terrific pace.  The jokes stack on top of each other, and while many other comedies tend to be top-heavy when it comes to the comedy, NEIGHBORS remains consistent throughout, with a very strong finish.

Even throughout all the dick jokes and humor, NEIGHBORS has a lot of heart, and even some thematic weight as these characters contemplate their places and their roles as they grow into new phases of their lives.  Mac and Kelly are struggling with being parents, and leaving behind that party life, and worry that their free spirits will be stifled by their new responsibilities, while the frat boys are figuring out what happens next for them after graduation.  None of this distracts from the humor, but it gives NEIGHBORS some terrific subtext and makes the movie that much richer.  Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have always made movies that can equally balance those exploration of relationships with moments of deep from-the-gut laughter, and NEIGHBORS continues that trend.

I don't anticipate anything dethroning NEIGHBORS as the comedy movie of the summer.  If anything can, more power to them.  But NEIGHBORS is about as funny a movie as I've seen from Rogen, Goldberg, and Nick Stoller, and if the audience of the Paramount last night was any indication, NEIGHBORS is going to be wildly successful.

AICN, Quint
You kind of know what movie you're in when the opening scene features Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne attempting to have spontaneous sex in their new house with their baby watching and totally creeping Rogen out. It plays as both sweet and wrong in equal measures, which is so important. If this movie didn't strike the right balance right off the bat then the raunch would just play as shock for shock's sake and come off as mean.

Thankfully Neighbors plays a lot like the early Apatow stuff, equal measures heart and humor with more than a pinch of grossout dick humor. The frat house backdrop gives the film a twist of '80s feeling magic, which mixes so well.

If you've seen the trailer, you know the movie. Couple has a baby, pumps all their money into their dream home and a fraternity moves in next door. They want peace and quiet, but don't want to come off as the out of touch buzz-killer adults. A war begins and escalates way beyond any rational line.

The thing that sets this one apart from most gross out movies is that it's not as simple as good guy parents versus bad guy frat douches. The frat dudes are actually likable. They're nice and at the beginning they actually bond for real. A seemingly small line is crossed when Rogen feels like he has to call the cops to get them to quiet down, which Efron and his frat brothers take as a personal betrayal.

Writer/director Nick Stoller doesn't make these guys the Revenge of the Nerds jocks. They're a bit naïve, a bit inconsiderate, but there's a real strong friendship in the frat and a feeling of guys just having fun in the prime of their youth. None of them have evil intentions and all the escalation comes from a real place of emotional pain.

Yeah, they put a little thought into the characters and cast them so well. Rose Byrne gets a few badass moments and never ends up trapped in the typical nagging wife role. For good or ill (mostly for ill) she's Rogen's partner in the war being waged in the neighborhood and there's one scene in particular where she gets to take charge of a battle, breaks down the players, the situation and their intentions in a flash and essentially Sherlock Holmes the scene, making sure the pieces fall the way she and Seth want them to.

Efron also gets a chance to shine. The dude hasn't really shaken off the romantic lead/Disney years stuff yet despite showing an obvious desire to stretch beyond that. I mean, the kid chose to work with people like Robert Altman and Richard Linklater. You don't do that unless you want to push yourself. I've always respected Efron for that and have liked a good amount of his work. Here he gets to play in a way we haven't quite seen him do yet. He's loose, comfortable and willing to try anything for the joke.

Rogen is still riding high off his success with This Is The End and much like Efron is willing to do anything for the joke, which includes showing about as much skin as Efron does in the film.

End of the day, the movie's just fun. You'll shake your head at the extreme nature of the humor, but by God you're going to be laughing while doing it.

Collider, Perri Nemiroff
Neighbors isn’t about the characters and it isn’t even about plot progression; it’s a string of silly, enjoyable sketches.  Mac and Kelly are instantly likable and you are invested in their effort to shut down the frat, but not because you care if they get their lives back on track, but rather because it’s fun to see how far they’ll go to do it…

However, oddly enough, even though Mac and Kelly are the anchors of the film, the frat brothers do manage to lay claim to Neighbors‘ marginal amount of character development.  Teddy is an inconsiderate jerk who puts the frat above all else.  There are attempts at showing off an honest, softer side, but each and every one of them is abrupt and only serves the on going war between Delta Psi and the Radners, never the character.  But, there is one mildly effective and even heartfelt component on this side of the line and that’s Teddy’s relationship with the frat’s vice president, Pete (Dave Franco).

Pete is two completely different characters in one.  For the first half of the film, he’s Teddy’s devoted right-hand man who has no reservations whatsoever when tormenting their enemies.  However, right around the midpoint, Pete slaps on a pair of glasses and turns into a standout student with some serious aspirations.  There’s no transition whatsoever and he doesn’t feel cohesive in the least, but Franco does sell both sides of the character well enough and also seizes an opportunity afforded to him by that latter half.  Teddy and Pete aren’t just frat brothers, they’re friends for life and even though they’re all about making Delta Psi party history, along the way, Efron and Franco do manage to convince you that they truly value their friendship, so when that relationship is rattled, you’ll catch yourself caring about it, too…

There’s no real build or through line for Neighbors.  The stakes stay about the same from beginning to end and the pranks are delivered in no particular order.  Thanks to the lack of layers, Neighbors misses out on the opportunity to resonate and become one of the greats, but it still has enough charm and humor to make it worth your while.

ComingSoon, Ed Douglas
The fourth comedy from director Nicholas Stoller ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall") is somewhat of a departure for him, maybe because he didn't write the screenplay, but also because it's his first collaboration with the other side of the Judd Apatow camp, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who tend to go for raunchier and let's admit it, more juvenile, laughs than Stoller's relationship humor.

"Neighbors" creates an interesting amalgam of their different styles, something that's immediately apparent from what may possibly be one of the funniest opening sequences we've seen in years. It effectively lets the viewer know how irresponsible Seth Rogen's Mac and his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) are as new parents before we're quickly thrown into what is a fairly simple turf war premise involving the frat house next door.

Seth Rogen doesn't seem to be breaking any new ground with his character in "Neighbors" although it seems very much like a transitional movie for him, one where he can go from being one of the pot-smoking fratboys to playing older parental roles without losing his coolness. This creates an interesting mix of humor that would appeal both to the college crowd and young parents, even if Zac Efron doesn't seem like a good match as his foil, which is probably why the movie doesn't work as well as it might have, because whenever Mac and Teddie start buddying up, it feels somewhat contrived and not particularly credible.

Stoller's assembled an impressive cast around them that helps with some of the heavy lifting with Rose Byrne being particularly revelatory in her ability to keep up with Rogen in terms of their scenes throwing gags out to each other. In other words, she's very funny in her own right rather than being the typical comedy wife who just reacts to her husband's shenanigans. In fact, Rogen and Byrne are so enjoyable to watch when it's just the two of them on screen, the movie loses something whenever it cuts over to Efron and the frat house, maybe because they're following in some large-sized footprints with the likes of "Animal House" and "Old School" coming before them. Dave Franco has some of the funnier lines and bits in these scenes, but others in the frathouse are given personalities and their own moments as well.

Despite the amount of suspension of disbelief necessary to make the comedy premise work, "Neighbors" is still a very funny movie, the humor definitely pushing the envelope of good taste more than a few times. Yet, whenever it delves into the lowest brow gross-out physical humor--rather than its unending string of gags about penises and smoking pot--it definitely starts to falter. There's an attempt to create something meaningful with heart at least in terms of Mac and Rose dealing with becoming responsible parents, but that's frequently thrown out the window whenever they try to come down to the level of the frat boys.

The last third of the movie is where things start to go off the rails and get predictable as the war between neighbors escalates, even if there are still enough great "Oh sh*t!" moments most won't see coming to keep it entertaining. The real problem arises when the filmmakers try to figure out how to end the movie and we're given three or four epilogues when maybe one or two would have sufficed. There is a case to be made in saying a movie may be too funny for its own good and "Neighbors" may fall into that category. The movie itself isn't long per se, coming in at under an hour and forty minutes, but some jokes and scenes are stretched far too long and that especially seems true with the ending.

wegotthiscovered.com, Matt Donato
Based on the merits of being a “How To” guide for aspiring parents, Neighbors is a one star[?] movie about two adults selfishly putting their own insecurities before the well-being of their newborn baby. We’re talking some gratuitously debaucherous middle-aged partying including magic mushrooms, sword fighting, shot ripping, and every other fraternal stereotype possible. Wildly inappropriate, of course, but with Nicholas Stoller’s outlandish direction, Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien watch their screenplay turn into a riotous Greek life comedy that’ll make you question every responsible decision you made throughout your college career. Stoller himself admitted that only one member of his production team actually lived a fraternity life in college, so you can imagine the generalizations and stereotypes blown wildly out of proportion, but it’s all in the name of comedy – and the most epic rager that frat life could possibly imagine.

Graduating from High School Musical heartthrob to full-blown college douche, Zac Efron was meant to play the testosterone-charged frat superhero Teddy Sanders. Efron has never been funnier, and getting away from his “good guy” persona creates a completely embellished caricature that’s entirely too much fun to ignore, pairing nicely with his second-in-command played by Dave Franco – another young actor who pops his collar and leaves us in stitches. The chemistry between these two is highlighted by a scene I can only dream was improvised on set, recording Teddy and Pete’s genius reinventions of the phrase “bros before hos” – only to have Pete heartbroken later when Teddy doesn’t acknowledge the “bropology” that took place, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE IT RHYMED! Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jerrod Carmichael round out our alpha dogs, one a certifiable porn star and the other a hopeless pothead, but it’s Teddy and Pete who ultimately win us over through wicked epicness – that’s what the kids say these days, right?...

Neighbors is essentially pornography for adults who fantasize about reliving their glory years, now unable to slug Jager and take two story bong rips, as those viewers can live vicariously through Rogen and Byrne – a comedic dream couple. Whether it’s Rogen dancing his ass off while wearing a goofy gansta’ hat or Byrne turning from innocent housewife into manipulative female she-demon, these two talents riff off one another with perfect comedic ease, again aiding Stoller’s admittedly overplayed mentality. Oh, and Byrne – please stick to only horror and comedy from here on out. Please?!

As for the party-hearty shenanigans throughout Neighbors, Stoller and company create every college boy’s fantasy while also somehow addressing fears that come along with leaving college – albeit nothing but surface recognition. You’re here to laugh, and watching Rogen attempt to keep up with Efron delivers “first pot brownie” hilarity. Blacklights, kegs, drugs, sorority girls, bro bonding, tank tops, Robert De Niro themed parties – Neighbors goes for broke and succeeds in creating one of the funniest fraternal comedies since Animal House – the Holy Grail of college humor. Stoller’s complete disregard for reality is his greatest weapon, subduing audiences with masculine hugs and spot on sight gags that again live in some fantasy world where airbags can hide in chairs, launching unknowing victims into crumbly tile ceilings. Nothing will make you miss college more until you realize your college life was nothing like Teddy’s – and then you’ll just want to pull an Old School.

Neighbors is like walking into a frat party and witnessing a game of beer pong between Willie Nelson, Kenny Powers, and the Coors Light commercial twins – it’s probably just a hallucinogenic tease brought on by some “party favors” you popped earlier, but for the time being, it’s nothing but pure, entertaining bliss. Attacking “bro” culture with the energy of a ‘roided out grizzly bear, Stoller pushes comedy farther than he’s ever attempted, an easy achievement with such a star-studded comedic cast. Efron is a pastel plastered revelation, and has honestly never been funnier – the same goes for Byrne, minus the abs and plus a maternal surprise. Sure, there’s a paper-thin story that doesn’t really strike the serious notes of maturing, growing older, and accepting a more “normal” life – but with non-stop laughs and gut-busting highlights, Neighbors is a death cup victory on Team Stoller’s first pong shots.

Things start getting a bit redundant so some links: Guardian, Henry BarnesTwitchFilm, Peter Martin, movies.com, Erik Davis, mxdwn.com, Tim Falkenberg, flixist.com, Nick Valdez
 
 
Mood: soresore
5 5 comments Comment
 
 
cologne50931 on March 15th, 2014 11:32 am (UTC)
Thank you, thank you very much for this much informations! I have to say it aigain, i love your Blog <3 Much greats from Germany
Miranda gives everyone a chancemirandagirll on March 16th, 2014 03:37 pm (UTC)
i love how zac seems genuinely happy now

also, the reviews are A+
kleth on March 17th, 2014 09:23 pm (UTC)
Reading these reviews is like reading porno; I'm getting aroused. Zac gets good notices even in the reviews that are slightly negative. Why is May 9 so far away?

But I agree, the straight press won't be as kind. However, by the time they get into it, and inform us about how worthless this movie is, it will be out and word of mouth will overpower print reviews.
kleth on March 18th, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC)
"And he's so happy and nice and I want to f--k him."

I continue to be amazed by how blatant the Neighbors team is regarding their admiration for Zac's attractions. Aside from this an Rogen's other remarks, the director wants to feel Zac's abs. I mean, guys aren't supposed to admit that they admire masculine beauty, much less that they might go "gay for a day" because of it.
countessm3countessm3 on March 20th, 2014 10:36 pm (UTC)
I think Seth was making fun of us women with that comment, because that's the typical female comment: "he's happy and nice and I want to eff him!"

Yeah, exactly.