Summer isn’t all about monster movies and superhero blockbusters — and this week on At the Movies, Peter Travers highlights one of the season’s buzzed-about comedies: Neighbors, which flips the script on the classic frat-house tropes established in 1978 by Animal House.
The film stars Seth Rogen, a star who you’d think would be playing the film’s resident John Belushi-ish character. Instead, the Knocked Up actor and Bridesmaids‘ Rose Byrne play Mac and Kelly, a married couple with a newborn who have the bad luck of living next door to the new location of a fraternity house — one led by party animal Zac Efron. Though in their early 30s, Mac and Kelly don’t want to admit they’re getting older, so they befriend the bros. Their plan — of course — backfires, and after the cops are called, war breaks out.
All sorts of gross, disgusting, ridiculous hilarity ensues, and Travers points out that it’s definitely the kind of thing you’d expect from a Seth Rogen comedy. He has particular praise for Byrne, however, saying, “She could’ve just played the sweet wife who’s going along with it — she is effing out-of-her -mind bonkers! She does more revenge things than anybody could ever imagine.”
Though sometimes a bit convoluted and over-the-top, Travers praises the film for the way it tackles the challenges of growing up while still being a total blast. “Somehow Zac Efron manages to get inside this character in a way that’s both funny and kind of touching, and the same with Rogen,” Travers says. “Neighbors is actually the killer comedy of the summer.”