Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Bad Neighbours

Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne) are now parents, and are adjusting to the daily life and struggles of raising a baby in their quiet neighbourhood. However, things only get more complicated when a Frat house, let by Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), is established next door. Fearing the discomfort of themselves and their baby, they soon become friends with the teenagers; partying and getting high with them. However, after Mac is forced to call the Police after a particularly loud party, the neighbours soon lose their friendship, and a war begins.

With this cast and this premise, Bad Neighbours just works from the offset. Fresh from their brilliant work on This Is The End, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen have produced another comedy with both a good idea and a great cast. But does this work as well as This Is The End? Well, no. Not really. Bad Neighbours is entertaining and it is funny, but just not funny enough. It will probably wind up as one of the most easily likable films of the year, and understandably so, but despite some great laughs and its brilliant likability, Bad Neighbours wasn't quite as good as it wanted to be.

The comedy, for the most part, works with ease. Rogen is so reliably funny now that this was almost a given, but I was most impressed with Byrne's work here. She plays the typically un-cool mother figure brilliantly; her immediate order for the youths to "KEEP IT DOWN" was brilliantly acted. Efron, as per usual, can't really act to save his life. But luckily he just about manages to get away with it here; he is, essentially, playing a version of himself. But, whilst the film begins with some great one-liners and some brilliantly funny sequences ("Baby's first rave" is a clear highlight), this soon fades for the film's simply ridiculous final act.

What started as a film with solid humour, a nicely developing story and a great sense of fun soon descends into a near incomprehensible frenzy of fireworks, teenagers and fights. The jokes continue to come, they just don't land as well as they do during the film's first two acts. In a room filled with potential weapons, why would both characters pick up dildos? Why would that ever happen? Accompany that with the world's most ridiculously laid back Police officer and a few questionable points (are we really meant to believe no other neighbour on the street phoned the Police at any point?), and we ultimately end up with a final act so bombastic and over the top you sort of just sit there and wait for it to end.

But, once it calms down, the jokes pick up again. The final five minutes offer more consistent jokes than the previous half hour. I get that a slightly bigger final act was needed, but did it really need to go that big? The film ends with a string of brilliantly funny Breaking Bad references, and a few brilliant lines from both Rogen and Byrne. In a film that exists solely to make you laugh, the films first two acts and final scene work effortlessly. The one liners are sharp, each character is given something interesting to do, and there are a few brilliantly funny sequences that you just wish would go on longer. But, this is all lost within the final act, which draws you out of the film as quick as you can say the film's title.

Whilst it is enough to halt the film dead and border on becoming difficult to watch, it doesn't stop Bad Neighbours being a blast. Thankfully the good largely outweighs the bad, and the film is funny for longer than it isn't. Rogen is becoming so reliable in terms of comedy nowadays that Bad Neighbours is something you would expect to be a hell of a lot funnier. It also doesn't help that the film's funniest moment was already shown in the trailers (they didn't top the airbag prank). But, for the most part, Bad Neighbours will have you laughing until it doesn't, and then it does again, briefly. It's a Rogen and Goldberg film, you knew what to expect. If you like what you're expecting, you'll love this. If not, give it a miss. It's far from perfect, but I'm still up for any comedy these guys put together.

To Summarise: Despite its bombastic final act, Bad Neighbours is a comedy that is frequently as funny as it is enjoyable, thanks to its strong cast and a great dosage of fun.

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