Fraternities don’t get much love in the movies, unless we’re talking about the stories of underdog, rogue frats: “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Revenge Of the Nerds,” “Old School.”
The rest of the time, fraternities are the headquarters for misogynistic yahoos who think they invented drinking, or secret organizations involving mysterious rituals where the occasional murder occurs and is then covered up because Daddy’s a United States senator and he’ll fix it.
(Sororities in the movies? That’s where girls get naked and/or murdered. It rarely goes much deeper than that.)
One of the things I liked about “Neighbors” was the way the film embraced the usual dopey stereotypes about frats while also giving us at least a little bit of perspective and insight. Even some of the most dedicated members of this particular fraternity realize the ridiculousness of the rituals they’re supposed to take so seriously.
Helmed with terrific timing by Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), with a hit-and-miss screenplay by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien that does feature a couple of priceless visual gags and some sharp one-liners, “Neighbors” is an obviously implausible but likable comedy pitting “bros against breeders.”
In a bit of inspired casting, Seth Rogen, who just two minutes ago was playing irresponsible stoners in a series of movies, is now suddenly the grumpy old man, at least relatively speaking. Rogen’s Mac Radner and Rose Byrne’s Kelly Radner are new parents marveling at every little thing the baby does — and shocked at how exhausting it is to be responsible for a tiny human every second of their lives. (In one hilarious sequence, Mac and Kelly get fired up for a big night on the town to prove they can still rage — but the mere process of getting ready wears them out.) …
You are currently browsing the blog.richardroeper.com blog archives.