Movie review – Bad Neighbours: The baby and the (frat) bathwater

2014-07-27 15:00

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Bad Neighbours

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne

4/5

In Bad Neighbours, young couple Kelly (Rose Byrne) and Mac (Seth Rogen) navigate the difficulties that come with being the first couple in their group of friends to become parents.

Although this means forgoing wild parties with their child-free buddies and living a quieter life, the two are thrilled to be parents of their cute-as-a-button baby, Stella.

Then a rowdy fraternity house moves in next door.

At first, Mac and Kelly want to appear cool. I mean, it wasn’t so long ago that they were at university themselves?–? and you’d better believe they rocked.

So could it be such a stretch that they could get along with the students?

Unfortunately, they find out the hard way that loud music and a baby who needs to sleep just don’t mix.

When the couple is forced to call the police during a rowdy party when the frat boys just won’t keep it down, an all-out war ensues.

Mac and Kelly plot to have the fraternity dissolved and out of the neighbourhood. The student house?–?headed by arrogant frat head Teddy (Zac Efron)?– fights back with full-on prank warfare.

Why did this movie resonate with me so much? Is it because, at 26, I am thoroughly no longer a student?

That period between leaving university and entering the working world is a tenuous one. You realise that even if you wanted to, your body just won’t party like it used to. That all the things you used to love doing, like staying awake till 3am, you now hate. That, yes, you are getting older.

Once a young couple has a baby, there’s no chance of even dabbling in that old life again.

Watching the two trying to be both?–?cool party animals and good parents – makes it all the more clear that sometimes you just can’t have your bread buttered on both sides.

Bad Neighbours also excellently portrays married couple Mac and Kelly in a nonstereotypical way. Unlike most comedies, including the nauseatingly bad Grown Ups and Hall Pass, the husband doesn’t get all the comedy scenes while the wife plays the naggy buzzkill always rolling her eyes.

Mac and Kelly are not only married, but they actually like each other (gasp!) They laugh together, joke together and make a great team.

In fact, the gender roles wives and husbands so often fall into are actually addressed in a scene in the movie.

Kelly laments that she always has to be the worrier, the responsible one looking out for the family, while Mac gets to be the man-child.

Rose Byrne, who I first noticed as Kristen Wiig’s rival in Bridesmaids, is truly piquing my interest.

She is a comic actress with impeccable timing and is hilarious in her own right. She stands up well against experienced funnyman Rogen.

Rogen’s previous comedies, including Funny People and Knocked Up, tended to come off as a little cynical and mean-spirited.

Bad Neighbours sometimes falls into that trap. But luckily this time it is saved by an incredibly perceptive, intelligent script and laugh-out-loud hilarity between the main actors.

Definitely worth a watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zEUuzj3a2g

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