REVIEW: Neighbors

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Neighbors
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Written by: Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien
Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron and Dave Franco

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are disarmingly excellent in Neighbors.  Their performances are so fluid and in sync that they take what would otherwise be an amusing, sometimes audacious series of physical gags and ground it with their portrait of a convincing young marriage. The poster sells a macho showdown between a millennial frat boy (Zac Efron) and a pothead-turned-dad (Rogen), and while that feud is very much at the core of the movie Byrne’s character is in on the raunchy scheming, too.

Andrew J. Coehn and Brendan O’Brien’s script switches effortlessly between the two worlds next door to each other.  Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) are a younger couple who moved to suburbia to “grow up.”  Not long after they move in, Teddy Sanders (Efron) and his frat brothers turn the house next door into a non-stop rave.  The movie leans heavily on their somewhat elaborate frat party set pieces, with a blacklight rave and Robert DeNiro-themed mixers.

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REVIEW: Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids
Directed by: Paul Feig
Written by: Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig (screenplay)
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, and Melissa McCarthy

Behold something new in Bridesmaids.  It’s possible that such an innovation, which is buried beneath a mound of plot cliches and character types, will go unnoticed by the masses.  It is simply this: Bridesmaids takes pieces of the old genres and makes them new.  It is the successful merging of the male-targeted buddy comedy with the female-targeted romantic comedy.

When two genres merge, the film either tends to lean hard on one element or another, but Bridesmaids carefully walks the tightrope between both in an effective, hilarious mix.

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