Bad Neighbours - Review

Teddy Sanders (ZAC EFRON) has a chat with neighbors Mac (SETH ROGEN) and Kelly Radner (ROSE BYRNE) in 'Bad Neighbors'.
Teddy Sanders (ZAC EFRON) has a chat with neighbors Mac (SETH ROGEN) and Kelly Radner (ROSE BYRNE) in 'Bad Neighbors'.

It’s inevitable that some film critics will deem a film like ‘Bad Neighbours’ utter tripe without even seeing it.

Whether movie goers want to admit it or not, there’s a real snobbery about movies and if it’s not your latest Steve McQueen, Christopher Nolan or Martin Scorsese film then there’s a train of thought out there that would suggest it can’t be good. For the record, this train of thought is utter nonsense.

Zac Efron and Dave Franco in 'Bad Neighbours'.

Zac Efron and Dave Franco in 'Bad Neighbours'.

A comedy like ‘Bad Neighbours’ can be as rewarding a trip to the cinema as any other film.

It might not have as much to say as some of the great dramas or thrillers of the last couple of years but as far as being in the moment is concerned sitting in a dark cinema theatre and laughing like a 15 year-old school boy can be just what the doctor ordered.

That’s not to say that the comedy genre is not deserving of a certain level of scepticism. It was responsible for last year’s horrifically awful ‘Bad Grandpa’.

Let’s face it, when it comes to comedies and Seth Rogen, they are a marriage made in heaven.

Rogen is not only hilariously funny but he can act too. ‘Knocked Up’ and ‘50/50’ being two of his most impressive outings to date.

In ‘Bad Neighbours’, Rogen plays Mac Radner, a 30 something married office worker who, along with his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne), are living the quiet life in middle America suburbia with their newborn daughter Stella.

Mac and Kelly are struggling to come to terms with the fact that parenthood has put an end to their days of partying until dawn and being carefree.

A fraternity house move into the house next door to Mac and Kelly and despite befriending the group, Mac decides to phone the police when of the frat parties gets a little too loud.

Mac promised the president of the fraternity, Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) that he would never call the police but when Teddy finds out it becomes a game of tit-for-tat pranks between Mac, Kelly and the frat house.

‘Bad Neighbours’ is a bit like what you would expect to see on the big screen if you mixed ‘Animal House’ with ‘American Pie’ and with just a hint of ‘Pacific Heights’.

The result is a lot of fun. I laughed from start to finish. Isn’t that what comedies are supposed to do.

Sure the comedy is crude and many of the scenes are quite graphic but the last time I checked, Derry wasn’t full of shrinking violets.

Rogen, as you’d expect is note perfect when it comes to creating the laughs but one of the best things about the movie is Australian actress, Rose Byrne.

Byrne has come a long way since ‘28 Days Later’ and she’s a scream here. There’s a certain scene in a hospital ward involving Byrne and I found it that funny that I almost choked on my popcorn.

I think it’s safe to say, ‘Bad Neighbours’ was the first time I’d ever seen Zac Efron act on the big screen and there’s no question about it, he has talent.

Efron plays Teddy Sanders, the president of the fraternity house who is struggling to come to terms with the reality that university life is nearing an end and he will be left with no choice but to grow up.

Efron made his name on the back of the clean-cut ‘High School Musical’ but he’s anything but that here. In fact, he has a mouth on him like a sailor.

Along with James Franco’s younger brother, Dave, Efron rules the roost in the fraternity house and some of the pranks he plays on both Mac and Kelly will make your face sore with laughter.

As you’d expect, the film concludes with one final big scene but the ending is quite satisfying and writers Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien have left the door wide open for a possible sequel.

If you enjoyed films like ‘Superbad’, ‘Hot Rod’ and ‘Road Trip’ then ‘Bad Neighbours’ is for you. You won’t be disappointed.

‘Bad Neighbours’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl. For full cinema listings visit

VERDICT: 4 out of 5 - I learned a lot from ‘Bad Neighbours’. Zac Efron can not only act but he is quite comical. Rose Byrne, whilst an amazingly talented actress, is naturally funny and enjoys some of the film’s best scenes. Andy Samberg invented the ‘toga party’. And... Seth Rogen is one of the most naturally gifted comedy actors around. Nicholas Stoller’s film is laugh out loud from the start to the end and despite the fact some of the material being quite graphic it is all done in tremendous good taste.