Comic film 'Neighbors' pits party-over against party-on

Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:08pm EDT
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By Karen Brooks

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - It's OK to grow up. Even Seth Rogen says so.

As a married former party guy transitioning into suburban parenthood, Rogen wages war with the frat house next door in the raucous new Nicholas Stoller movie, "Neighbors," that screened this weekend as a work in progress at the SXSW Film Festival.

Packed with crowd-pleasing Rogen-style jokes - including a cringe-worthy bumble with a breast pump - the war spirals into depravity between new parents Mac and Kelly Radner and the Delta Psi Beta frat next door, led by its slightly damaged president, Teddy, portrayed by Zac Efron.

But as Mac and Kelly, played by Rogen and Rose Byrne, find themselves trying to shut down raging parties they would have loved to attend when they were 10 years younger, the film's biggest battle turns out to be internal.

It is the one fought by anyone afraid to grow up, or who cannot figure out how to make a comfortable transition to "get-off-my-lawn" adulthood out of an irresponsible youth they are sorry to see disappear.

"When you have a kid, that's great, and obviously amazing, but as special as it is, it does destroy a part of your previous life," Rogen, 31, a co-producer of the movie, told Reuters on Sunday in an interview after the movie's first public screening. "That's probably good in some ways, but it's also a bummer in some ways."

Early reviews have been largely positive, with critics appreciating the movie's nonstop jokes in a film Variety senior features writer Andrew Barker describes as "lewder, weirder, louder, leaner, meaner and more winningly stupid" than previous Stoller or Rogen efforts. The film opens in North American theaters on May 9.

The audience in Austin laughed and cheered through most of the antics, including the moment the baby sticks the used condom into her mouth after the frat boys fling it onto the lawn.   Continued...

Actor Seth Rogen arrives at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscars Party in West Hollywood, California in this file photo taken March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/Files