Bad Neighbours (Nicholas Stoller, 2014)

What's it about? A married couple (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) with a young baby have a few misgivings when a frat house, led by alpha-male Teddy (Zac Efron), move in next door. After initial attempts to get on fail, things degenerate into all out war between them. Hilarious antics ensue, yes? Well, not really.

Is it any good? In years to come, everyone involved will no doubt look back at this a little shame-facedly and concede that maybe they should have worked a bit harder, instead of goofing off all the time. It's a shoddy, scattershot comedy, clutching desperately at a few half-formed ideas and references, and stringing them loosely together, like a student who puts down everything they know in the exam, hoping it'll do enough to pass. It must try harder. Efron emerges with some credit by threatening to rise above the lame material at times, but Rogen and Byrne's semi-improvised riffs aren't as funny as they think they are and the supporting 'comic' characters are weak. Most of those involved, including the director and writers, graduated from the Judd Apatow school of comedy, so even though Apatow isn't associated with this film, it feels like they're trying to live up to his memory and get their film on the wall next to past 'glories'. Presumably the consumption of too much cannibis and alcohol has stopped them setting their sights a bit higher. If you've seen some of those films, you'll get what you expect, and less. If you haven't, this probably isn't the best one to initiate yourself with.

I don't trust you. What do others think? I didn't much like this, but at least I didn't go as far as Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, who intimated that films like Bad Neighbours and Apatow's output might influence young men into acts of violence like that perpetrated by killer Elliot Rodger. Rogen and Apatow responded furiously, prompting a sort of apology from Hornaday, but she stuck to her original thinking about the inherent sexism of the male wish-fulfilment fantasies depicted in these comedies (ie schlubby loser shacked up happily with beautiful girl). Of course, the real comedy here is to be found in the name. Horn a day (*snigger*).

What does the Fonz think? Bad Neighbours, nobody needs Bad Neighbours.....

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