A line from a famous soap opera says, “everybody needs good neighbours”. It’s when they turn bad we have to worry. Several tales of neighbourly disputes have made headlines providing morbid fascination. Bad Neighbours charts one such calamity. An updated version of Animal House with a pinch of The Burbs thrown in, it valiantly attempts to wring much comedic potential from its premise.
Young married parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are looking forward to suburban bliss. With their newborn daughter in tow, they begin their parental lives in a charming house. Unfortunately a mob of party-goers move in next door led by Teddy (Zac Efron). Boisterous and loud, their lurid manner quickly grates. Determined to restore peace, Mac and Kelly resort to any measures necessary to bring order to their patch of paradise.
For any comedy to work there has to be likeable characters with which audiences can engage. Unfortunately Bad Neighbours has hardly any. Whilst Mac and Kelly’s domestic situation initially draws knowing laughs, their increasingly nasty antics irritate. You actually begin feeling sorry for Teddy and his gang despite their boorish behaviour. The various ways the trio settle their arguments are reminiscent of the Home Alone series as each set-trap becomes increasingly outlandish.
The performers try their best with Rogen and Efron making good use of their characters. Efron strongly compliments Rogen’s exasperated parent even if he spends most of the film shirtless. Director Nicholas Stoller keeps the momentum going despite endless comedic crudity. Very little wit is seen as Bad Neighbours aims for the lowest humorous denominator. This type of comedy has fans that lap up the lewd and very rude mirth with ease.
Bad Neighbours features a litany of naughty neighbours many would want to avoid. In spite of its vigilant vulgarity it raises some chuckles with the character’s behaviour easily making one consider moving house.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 5