Why You Should Bring Your Grandmother to See Neighbors

It was a balmy May evening when I dragged my grandmother and mother into the movie theater to see Neighbors, Seth Rogen’s newest vehicle. We wanted to see a movie that none of us had seen, and seeing as I had already seen The Amazing Spiderman 2 and my grandmother had already seen The Other Women, the only movie that we could logically see was Neighbors. As we entered the theater and stood in line, my grandmother turned towards me with a confused look on her face.

“Rachel,” she said, her small eyes crinkling under her glasses, “I don’t even know what this movie is about.”

“Don’t worry, Grandma,” I replied, patting her arm wisely. “This movie has shirtless Zac Efron and that is all you need to know.”

“Three tickets, please!” Grandma said in response, causing the cashier to laugh loudly at the 70 year old woman who is still enthused by Zac Efron’s abs.

If you’re going to see Neighbors, Zac Efron’s abs aren’t the only thing that you should know about it, but they are a big part of the movie- all eight of them. Seth Rogen, in the self deprecating humor that he is known for, enjoys comparing himself to Efron’s more youthful stature. He also likes to constantly talk about how pretty Efron is, which causes everybody in the audience to giggle loudly because, let’s face it, it’s very true.

Neighbors tells the story of Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne of X-Men and Bridesmaids fame) who are brand new parents living out the “dream life.” Because they are new parents, they’ve suddenly been forced into abandoning the “party” lifestyle that they enjoyed so much in college. Imagine their surprise when a frat moves in next door to them and wakes up the baby with their incessant partying and other loud antics. When Mac and Kelly go over to talk to Teddy (Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco, better known as ‘Baby Franco’ in select circles), they somehow get drawn into the frat lifestyle that they had missed so much. Unfortunately for Mac and Kelly, they betray the trust of the frat by calling the police on them, and Teddy decides to begin a full-out prank war in which, surprisingly enough, Rose Byrne’s Kelly reigns Queen.

This movie is supposed to be the Animal House for our generation, except it’s definitely more crude than that film. Neighbors certainly earns its R-rating, and then some. Even though some of the funniest scenes are the most explicit, this doesn’t mean that some of the laughter comes from the pure shock value of what moviegoers are watching on the screen. One of the primary storylines of Neighbors is how little time Mac and Kelly have for their relationship now that they’re parents, and Rogen’s script milks it for all it’s worth. Pun intended.

Neighbors is funny, but it’s not laugh-out-loud-until-you’re-wheezing funny. There was a lot of quick-humor that got snorts of laughter and some of the ridiculous antics of the main characters made the entire audience laugh, but it wasn’t until the very end of the movie that the film had its comedy gold. In a fight scene between Rogen’s Mac and Efron’s Teddy, the direction is absolutely phenomenal and the choreography is humorous and hilarious. This scene is easily the best scene in the movie for its unique and creative physical comedy, and Efron and Rogen pull it off brilliantly.

Luckily for those who are not interested in pranks, parenting, or Zac Efron’s abs, the  movie also has a meaningful subplot about growing up. Mac and Kelly are afraid of becoming adults even though they’ve already gotten themselves into that life. Pete, the vice-president of the frat, is an amazing student, much to the chagrin of his best friend, Teddy, who doesn’t care about anything but being president of the frat. As the story goes on, Teddy’s inadequacies and fears build continually, and at the end of the movie, all of his problems aren’t entirely solved, giving the movie an edge of reality that reminds viewers, and Mac, that school doesn’t go on forever.

While my mother and I were laughing hysterically the entire movie, my grandma maintains that she did not laugh until close to the end. Neighbors doesn’t have humor for the whole family, but if you’re in the right mood and your sense of humor is 80% as dirty as Rogen’s, you’ll certainly enjoy the experience.

Plus there’s Zac Efron’s abs, which even grandmothers enjoy…