It's not easy getting older -- especially when a reminder of youth moves in next door.  This is the central idea, and source of conflict, with Neighbors, a comedy that's alternating thoughtful and juvenile.

Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) are a married couple who are reluctant to grow up.  They're the first of their friends to have a house and a kid (six-month-old daughter Stella), they miss going out, and they consider taking Stella to a rave when they can't get a babysitter.  Their pride is their new house, which they sunk all their money into, and they hope to get a cool gay couple as neighbors.  What they get instead is a fraternity next door.
Teddy (Zac Efron) is the president of Delta Psi, and he and his second in command Pete (Dave Franco) are determined to make it onto their wall of fame with a legendary party.  Mac and Kelly and Teddy try bonding -- Mac and Kelly want to seem cool so Teddy will "keep it down" if things get too loud, Teddy thinks if they're friends early the frat can get away with more stuff later -- but after some hurt feelings (Teddy doesn't keep it down, so Mac calls the cops) they wind up in a virtual war.  Mac and Kelly want to get Delta Psi its three strikes so it's shut down, while Teddy and his friends work at making things miserable for Mac and Kelly while building to their epic party.

Neighbors is a mostly familiar and often funny take on opposites going against each other.  Seth Rogen gets to do his usual stoner humor, but Rose Bryne is terrific as the warring mother who doesn't want to be the responsible one and who can be just as juvenile and wily as her husband.  Zac Efron does well, although I suspect he was cast as much for his near-perfect body as for his comic timing.  The movie has plenty of gross-out gags (a dildo fight, a found condom), but there's also a generational issue: Mac and Kelly want to feel young even while needing a good night's sleep, while Teddy sees getting on his fraternity's wall as a lifetime achievement, even though Pete reminds him that they're graduating in a few weeks and it'll all be behind them.

Neighbors isn't consistently funny, but i\t has more than enough laughs to be entertaining.  And the generational issues and comic opportunities for Rose Byrne make it a little better than the average comedy.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

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