Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating *
Cast: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Brian Huskey, Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Halston Sage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lisa Kudrow, Jerrod Carmichael, Craig Roberts, Ali Cobrin, Hannibal Buress.
It seriously makes you worry for the future of American comedy if all a studio can come up with is a film that relies far too much displaying the bodily differences between the two main male leads, more needless swearing than you find underlined in a dictionary by somebody with limited vocabulary and an over reliance on showcasing the university fraternity system and their spat with modern day suburbia. It has been down before, with better artistry, finer scripts and with a couple of notable exceptions with better leads and supporting cast. Bad Neighbours is no Animal House. It even has the dubious pleasure of somehow managing to make the National Lampoon films seem like gold dust.
When Mac and Kelly Radner find their new life as parents suddenly disturbed by the appearance of students in the neighbourhood and the dwelling next door being turned into a fraternity house, the sense of foreboding for the couple, played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, is so palpable it jumps off the screen and down your throat and leaves a sour taste that will be hard to wash out without the aid of several tubes of your own personal choice of toothpaste.
The series of one-upmanship that ensues, the sense of sickly nostalgia in which you realise that you have seen this type of film done before, just better, makes it seem completely unrealistic and pandering to the lowest common denominators, in fact so low it could easily take on a very lithe and agile ant in a limbo dancing contest and come out the winner.
The only redeeming feature of the film are the inclusions of Dave Franco, who shines despite the script and Rose Byrne who at least gives a credible portrayal as a new mum who finds she has somewhere lost her place in the younger world. In the face of these two actors giving at least something to the audience in return for their time spent watching perhaps one of the most inept comedies of the century so far, there really isn’t much to take heart in.
It seems that somewhere between the great comedies that American scriptwriters seem to pull out of all the stops for television, what gets left behind gets shoved into a brown paper bag and exchanged for the overwhelming taste of utter garbage. It is a shame for the comedy that makes its way from America to these shores on television has for a long time taken pride of place; it doesn’t seem to transfer easily to film.
Bad Neighbours is one to miss unless your life has taken the type of turn for the worse in which even catching it playing in the middle of the night during an episode of chronic insomnia and with no hope in sight for anything to take your mind off the relentlessness of it all, even then surely a National Lampoon film would be a better call.
Ian D. Hall