Back in the Stone Age – we’re talking 1978 – National Lampoon’s Animal House spoke to a generaton of frat boys with a take-no-prisoners attitude toward fun. That animal spirit, embodied by John Belushi’s Bluto, raves on in the shamelessly shitfaced Neighbors, the killer party movie of the summer. Don’t worry about plot. Just let this baby rip.
The stellar Seth Rogen is a natural for this kind of reefer madness. So it’s a jolt to see him cast as Mac Radner, a husband and new father who comes unglued when the Delta Psi Beta fraternity moves in next door. At first Mac and his wife, Kelly (Rose Byrne, a hoot as she morphs from button-downed to bonkers), try to parade their aging cool in front of frat prez Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and his adoring veep, Pete (an inspired Dave Franco). But when the Radners call in the cops, it’s all-out war and wall-to-wall comic raunch.
Director Nicholas Stoller keeps the antics spinning like a weekend rager. But hold off puking till you see how the deft script, by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, digs into the male fear of a world beyond beer, bongs and blow jobs. Efron and Rogen have a blast. You expect hardcore hilarity from Neighbors, and you get it. It’s the nuance that sneaks up on you. Just like it does on Mac and Teddy.