Typically, when I see a 3D movie I end up with a massive headache. Neighbors isn't in 3D but it's a film that is so funny, that made me laugh so hard, that I got a headache comparable to visual trickery that scrambles my cones and rods. It's not often I'm glad my head is pounding but this is an instance where it was totally worth it.
Director Nicholas Stoller is a much better writer than a director, although I'm not really a fan of much of what he's done. I know everyone loves Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall but to me they were both "meh" at best. However, what he has done is write two amazing scripts for The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted and, because his treatment of them matched my unconditional love for those felty puppets, I will forever give him a pass. I'm thrilled that I don't need to cash that in with Neighbors because it's one of the funniest films I've seen in at least a year.
It stars Seth Rogen and the gorgeous and hilarious Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, Insidious) as 30-somethings who have a 6-month-old baby. Zach Efron leads a pack of wild dogs in the form of a frat who move in next door to them after their old house burned down. It's easy to see why the war between them starts. On the surface, this is one of the most predicatble, cliche plots ever but there is a heart and soul to this film that transcends anything that resembles it that came before. It would be easy to make the parents the good guys and the frat brothers the bad guys but that's not what happens. The world they live in is painted shades of grey and neither are outright victims or deserving of retribution.
What makes it even more enjoyable is that the film has something to say. For anyone 18-24, the Efron character shows that partying all night and sleeping all day only leads to being a loser for life. For anyone 25-35, the Rogen/Byrne characters show a dead-on representation of being in that hazy age range where you still feel young but you're not. That's where I'm at in my life and everything that couple complained about and loved about their lives rang 100% true to me and even made my eyes sweat a bit.
I wish I could recommend Neighbors for everyone but I can't. The movie is R-rated and that's a really hard "R." There are more boner jokes and gags in the film than there were in Magic Mike. The party scenes are gratuitous and enough profanity to be on par with Wolf of Wall Street. But in the same way that 40-Year-Old Virgin and Superbad tested the limits of taste while still appealing to a larger audience because of the tenderness within the characters and stories, Neighbors soars. It's worth whatever pain you get from laughing. Trust me.