The Seth Rogen-Zac Efron vehicle draws comparisons to “Animal House” and “Revenge of the Nerds II” from critics around the web
If you like gross-out lactation and silly dildo gags, head to your local theater immediately.
Currently with a 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the Seth Rogen-Zac Efron frat house comedy “Neighbors” was widely released in theaters on Friday. The film follows a young family (Rogen, Rose Byrne and baby) who puts their state of arrested development to the test when a fraternity buys the house next door.
TheWrap‘s Inkoo Kang calls “Neighbors” an “instant classic,” praising its “fully developed relationships between the characters” and calling the film's gags “high-concept.” Kang praised the team behind the college comedy — Nicholas Stoller, Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien — for letting Byrne get in on the debauchery, a theme that was reflected in several of the reviews.
Here are what some of the other top critics are saying around the web:
Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times says that the comedy “is a bit like ‘Animal House’ on steroids — and with penis molds.” That's a good thing, apparently. Sharkey praises the script as “a clever one” with “relationship dialogue that rings true.”
A.O. Scott of the New York Times wrote that the film “ascends to an impressively high level of farcical anarchy,” but “is not a great film and does not really aspire to be.” However, “It knows how to have fun,” he says.
Jocelyn Noveck of the Associated Press calls “Neighbors”: “noisy, crude, profane, gross, and sometimes mean.” Also: “At a certain point, the movie starts to feel like an extended ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit, with not much concern for narrative progression,” Noveck says. But, she adds, “Luckily, it's also extremely funny, and you'll realize by the end that it has some heart, too.”
For those who prefer the grading system, here are some top critics who assigned a letter or star count:
Chris Vognar of the Dallas Morning News gives the Seth Rogen comedy a “C-,” saying that “concise comedy gives way to desperation less that halfway through, and we're left with the spectacle of adults embracing extreme immaturity just because they can.” He calls the movie “a thin revenge sketch along the lines of a ‘Spy vs. Spy’ comic strip” that “can be funny in short bursts.”
Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post says of “Neighbors”: “[It's] less a coherent movie than a loosely assembled series of lewd jokes and punishing slapstick routines,” and that one of the funniest sequences (the airbag prank) “has already been overworked to death” in the trailers. She gives it two out of four stars.
David Hiltbrand of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave “the most rollicking frat comedy since ‘Revenge of the Nerds II'” three out of four stars. He went on to call Efron “a revelation as the off-campus king,” and concludes, “the result is a funny and raucously lewd comedy fueled with enough penis jokes to keep an actual fraternity in stitches for a trimester.”