Neighbors Is Shockingly ... Mature?

Critics approve of surprisingly sweet raunchfest

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 9, 2014 11:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – It may look like a raunchy, juvenile, toga party of a movie, but Neighbors is actually surprisingly sweet and honest, critics seem to agree. Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron star in the story of a pair of new parents battling it out with their neighborhood's new frat house. As of this writing, the movie has a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, with supporters almost universally noting its gentler virtues. Here's what reviewers are saying:

  • "Neighbors is probably the best comedy of the year so far and offers what too many of its fellows fail to provide: edgy humor with a slice of intelligence and insight," writes James Berardinelli at ReelViews. "While there's no denying the film's 'mature' credentials, there's an element of truth and honesty to some of the humor that is both surprising and refreshing."
  • It's "about as endearing as a movie featuring constant drinking, drugs, anatomy jokes, and fraternity hazing can be," agrees Moira Macdonald at the Seattle Times. "Rogen and Byrne are so likable and charming together, and play their scenes with such lightness, you’re immediately on their side."
  • "I can't quote any of the jokes, but a healthy percentage of them work," Ty Burr at the Boston Globe promises—especially a particularly outrageous breastfeeding scene. But "underlying all the condom jokes and bad behavior is something genuine: the anxiety that young people in a youth-obsessed culture can feel when they’re finally and irrevocably called upon to be responsible."
  • But Ann Hornaday was not amused. "Viewers who find unbridled hilarity in the idea of babies eating condoms, men dueling with sex toys, and 30-something yuppies keepin’ it trill by using words like 'trill' will find much to value in Neighbors," she writes in the Washington Post. Don't expect subtlety; this is "a movie of wammies: one-liners, shticks, and sight gags that don’t gain in momentum or accrue in meaning."

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Seth Rogen in a scene from Neighbors.
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Seth Rogen in a scene from "Neighbors."   (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Glen Wilson)
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An official trailer for "Neighbors."   (YouTube)

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