Neighbors Explores Big Life Changes, Earns Major Laughs

What happens when you pit a fraternity that’s hell-bent on making its mark in the party history books against a young couple trying to get a handle on the whole parenthood thing?

When those two sides involve Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Dave Franco, the answer is comedy gold.

In the new movie, Neighbors, Rogen and Byrne play a couple with a new baby at home who get a rough start when a local fraternity, led by Efron’s hard-partying character Teddy, moves in next door.

After a few feeble attempts to find a happy balance between the college kids’ rowdy ways and the married couple’s more sedate lifestyle, the two groups go to war. From damaging each others’ properties, to trying to oust one another from the neighborhood, the tactics both sides pull provide ample laughing material for viewers.

But while the laughs are plenty it’s what’s going on in the characters’ lives that the audience will be able to connect to: The story line highlights the difficulty of finding one’s footing when transitioning from one life chapter to the next.

As the younger crowd is desperately trying to hold on to what they’ve got left of their time in college and squeeze out every bit of the frat life they can before they enter the post-college world, the slightly older couple is trying to finally put those days behind them and settle into a more “adult-like” existence. Anyone who has ever struggled with adjusting to any major life change will appreciate the comedic take on this often tricky experience.

There are also other winning qualities in this movie: The chemistry between the main actors is fluid and effortless; the various characters — who could have easily slid into the polarizing zone — are all balanced and likeable; the humor, while raucous isn’t overly crude; and last but not least, Zac Efron is shirtless for most of the movie.

If you’re looking for a couple hours of rock-solid comedy that still has some substance to it, Neighbors is a great pick.

Watch the trailer above and then catch it in theaters starting May 9, 2014.