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Bad Neighbours/Neighbors


Stars: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Lisa Kudrow, Jake Johnson

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Movies about fraternity house frolics, most commonly centred on a that part of college life at college where liquor, women and the humiliating hazing of pledges of is more important than getting a good education is essentially an American genre, most notably hallowed by John Landis and company in the seminal (no pun intended!) Animal House.

(Pixar’s youngster-aimed Monsters University stands out as a major genre exception).

Here director Nicholas Stoller, screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brian and an ideal cast headed by Seth Rogen deliver all the filthy fun you could want in a coarse comedy that makes Rogen’s previous offerings such as Knocked Up and Superbad resemble tepid Enid Blyton TV adaptations.

Rogen and Rose Byrne hit all their marks playing a couple who move into their new home in what at first resembles an archetypal white picket fence American suburb.

But not for long!

Their lives become a living hell when dozens of Delta Psi Beta fraternity brothers move into the house next door and turn the neighbourhood into an epic of noise, booze, women, and worse that makes WW2 seem positively serene by comparison. And relations deteriorate into all-out war between Rogen and Frat House president Zac Efron (also splendid) and his horde…

Be warned. Unashamed bad taste is endemic from the start with Rogen and Byrne making love in front of their baby daughter (the twins who play the child deserve chocolate ice cream Oscars for their splendid contribution) and rapidly – and very, very funnily – goes from bawdy to worse as war breaks out.

The language is lurid, the gags – involving penis-shaped dildos and candles and worse might even shock a Channel 4 commissioning editor. As date movies go, it is essential that your partner should be foul-mouthed and filthy-minded to the max.

This crude comedy is not designed to take hostages.

Memorable moments abound. For me (and I saw the film a second time to savour the sequence) the most entertaining was, after telling their neighbours “We’re throwing a Robert De Niro party!") the fraternity members proceed en masse to impersonate De Niro so hilariously that I can’t be sure that I can ever take their victim seriously again.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour (unspecified).
96 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 3, Swearing 3.

Review date: 08 May 2014