Notwithstanding contemporary comedies’ success, Neighbors is an altogether aimless exercise in procuring laughs over anything else. Focusing on a couple’s recent relocation to an at-first idealistic suburb with their newborn baby girl, things soon go south as a fraternity moves in next door to increasingly burden said couple’s lives. As a mutual understanding coinciding with the traditional frat boy lifestyle diminishes, the generational rivals spar at frequent intervals to varying degrees of intensity.
Barring my needless introductory prose, I assure you that the film is merely as simplistic in intention and presentation as you’ve all been led to believe. Although a tangential rant pertaining to the current state of comedy as of late should precede this, to deny the effectiveness of Neighbors‘ lewdness is unfair. As it follows in the footsteps of similarly bare-bones efforts, the script recreates the basal comedic appeal of “Apatow-esque” productions as it purposely if unattractively forgoes (literally) everything else. It transcends the limits of even the most hardened of dick joke advocates, hesitant breast-milking husbands and frat bro archetypes.
Despite chuckle-inducing observational jabs at nearly everything presented, it becomes all-too-apparent that anyone who’s aptly cynical could produce something like this, waving away all of the logistical plot-centric elements in the realm of equally-concerned neighborhood denizens (etcetera) with a spit-second narrative hand wave. Of course I laughed at frequent intervals, but to deny my lucid comprehension of what played out before me would be silly. Base-level conflict escalates predictably and at an agreeable pace, not once altering viewers’ expectations of what they’ve been led to, well, expect thanks to a simultaneously aggressive and steadfast ad campaign.
Again, if you’re looking for something deeper amidst purposeful immaturity, Neighbors isn’t your present go-to. It suits my sense of humor just fine and its leads are predictably charismatic, moreover admirable as such, however the film resonates as something that exists for the sake of existing. Is it characteristic of the present state of comedy in cinema? Absolutely, and if you’re a fan of R-rated, almost fan service-like outlandishness then it’s all undoubtedly your cup of tea. In the grand scheme of things, Neighbors is exactly what you’d expect it to be – a primed and ready play on vulgar gratification that prides itself on such a brand and nothing else, intentionally forgoing palpable intelligence in favor of one-upping its obvious and equally aimless inspirations.