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Phuket Film Review: Bad Neighbours

We are entering new, but familiar, territory here. A movie that is not a remake and does not come from other source material. How have the Hollywood suits allowed this?

By Jean-Pierre Mestanza

Tuesday 3 June 2014, 10:00AM

Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Running time: 97 minutes


It’s highly possible Bad Neighbours could have been the worst comedy film ever and audiences would still have loved it, if only because the market craves something different.

Thankfully, Bad Neighbours is actually quite good, providing a fun mental escape for 97 minutes, full of hysterical – if raunchy – moments that are very re-watchable. With a carefully balanced cast that includes Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and a surprisingly funny (and expectedly buff) Zac Efron, the film does a great job of straddling the line between believably funny and outrageous.

The plot revolves around Marc and Kelly Radner (Rogen and Byrne), a young couple with a six-month-old daughter, Stella, and their new neighbours – a fraternity of university students. The club, Delta Psi Beta, is led by president Teddy Sanders (Efron) who befriends the couple. However, with the students’ endless nighttime partying and incessant daytime exploits, the couple eventually call the police to file a noise complaint – an act that the frat sees as a violation of their friendship.

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And so a war of neighbours begins, as each house attempts to force the other to leave the neighbourhood. Things escalate quickly, and hilariously, with each antic more ridiculous than the last.

Bad Neighbours has fun with the idea of people coping with what is expected from them at a certain point in their life. On one side we have a young couple desperately trying to prove to themselves that life has not changed as they struggle to cope as new parents.

At the same time, the boys of Delta Psi Beta are individually coping with the realities that, one day in the bear future, university life will end. This lesson comes in different forms, and in brief instances, but it's what gives the film a bit more depth than a simple off-the-wall comedy.

Speaking of the comedy, it's out there and then some. The expected fart jokes are in abundance and coupled with gaudy physical antics that we've come to expect from Rogen's comedies. Efron, though, steals the show in this department with his half-serious, half-party boy persona that, when peeled back, is actually a front for a run-of-the-mill nice guy.

In addition, the film has small bit parts to a few up-and-coming comedians, specifically Hannibal Buress and Jerrod Carmichael, both of whom shine in their brief speaking roles.

Whiles it's not as good as 40 Year Old Virgin or Superbad, Bad Neighbours is funny enough to deserve a trip to the cinema (especially on a wet Phuket day) and a space on your hard drive when the official download becomes available.

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