Nicholas Stoller’s (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five Year Engagement) upcoming R-rated summer comedy Neighbors had its premiere at the SXSW film festival last night and early reactions and reviews have been pretty damn great so far. The film, previously titled Townies, centers on a young couple (Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne) who face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. Dave Franco, Jake Johnson, Ike Barinholtz, Jason Mantozoukas, and Lisa Kudrow also star. Neighbors opens in theaters on May 9, 2014.
Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne lead the cast of Neighbors, a comedy about a young couple suffering from arrested development who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. Neighbors is directed by Nick Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek).
HitFix: Many of the modern comedies that are considered classics become part of the pop culture lexicon, endlessly quoted by fans in all sorts of different contexts. I have a strong suspicion that “Neighbors” is going to be one of those films that is simply absorbed whole by audiences. Not only is it uproariously funny and almost breathtakingly dirty, it is better written than it needs to be on a character level, delivering completely on its premise.(A)
IndieWire: The movie as a whole has a wonderfully playful rhythm, with the jokes rising and falling like crests of a giant ocean wave. But the party sequences really allow the filmmakers to break that rhythm and really stretch themselves creatively. Away from the slightly pat comedies that he has made in the past, Stoller shines. Like Rogen, he seems to have found freedom in maturity and the sublime in silliness. Or is it the other way around? With “Neighbors,” we laughed until we ached. Then we laughed some more. (A-)
Variety: Lewder, weirder, louder, leaner, meaner and more winningly stupid than anything its director Nicholas Stoller and star Seth Rogen have ever been involved with before, frat comedy “Neighbors” boasts an almost oppressive volume of outrageous gags, and provided that audiences don’t mind the lack of anything resembling a coherent story arc, its commercial potential ought to be enormous. The bottom line: An uproarious and hugely commercial vision of intergenerational warfare.
THR: Efron is credibly hateful here, his vacant eyes radiating dumb defiance as the frat taunts and abuses the Radners. By contrast, Rogen and Byrne work each other into a frenzy, first trying to stop the pranks, then to avenge them. As the couple’s plots grow increasingly aggressive, Byrne gets more freedom than she often does, stealing scenes with last-ditch deviousness.
CinemaBlend: Stoller could trim the run time of Neighbors, as the back-and-forth between the warring parties goes from inspired to childish and more than a bit exhausting. But the film has multiple, huge laughs. It plays extremely well with a crowd who is plugged in to the anarchistic rivalry. But it’s also one of those relentlessly dirty comedies that you’ll watch on cable months after you belly laughed through it with your friends and wonder what, exactly, was so hysterical.