May 9, 2014 12:58 pm

What the critics are saying: ‘Neighbors’

ABOVE: Watch the trailer for Neighbors.

TORONTO — In the new comedy Neighbors, Canadian actor Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are a couple with a new baby who end up living next door to a rowdy frat house run by Zac Efron.

What ensues is a war between the two sides.

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Does the movie deliver real laughs or is it little more than an excuse for Efron to show off his ripped torso? Here’s a look at what some of the critics are saying.

Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post called Neighbors “a shaggy, baggy collegiate comedy that is less a coherent movie than a loosely assembled series of lewd jokes and punishing slapstick routines”

She added: “Viewers who find unbridled hilarity in the idea of babies eating condoms, men dueling with sex toys and 30-something yuppies keepin’ it trill by using words like ‘trill’ will find much to value in Neighbors, as long as they don’t get lost in such little details as credibility or lost opportunities.”

READ MORE: What the critics are saying about other recent movies

At US Weekly, Mara Reinstein also pointed out plot holes.

“To be sure, this premise is as flimsy as a fake ID,” she wrote. “And, not to nitpick any semblance of logic in this kind of film, but how convenient that none of the other neighbors on the block are perturbed by the blasting music or the beer cans strewn on the lawn.”

Rolling Stone film reviewer Peter Travers, who described Neighbors as “the killer party of the summer,” said audiences shouldn’t worry about plot.

“Just let this baby rip,” he wrote.

“Hold off puking till you see how the deft script, by Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, digs into the male fear of a world beyond beer, bongs and blow jobs,” Travers said. “You expect hardcore hilarity from Neighbors, and you get it. It’s the nuance that sneaks up on you.”

Richard Corliss of TIME took something else from the movie. He opined “the frat boys’ penis fixation, in the enervating comedy Neighbors, could be an expression of their homoerotic bonding to the virtual exclusion of women — their mantra is ‘bros before hoes’ — or a clue to an infantilism these boys never outgrew.”

Jay Stone of Canada’s Postmedia said the movie is “a series of comic interactions, druggie riffs, physical gags (a joke involving stolen automobile airbags is an explosive bit of slapstick) and genial mayhem.”

He wrote: “The humour comes and goes, but what you can’t deny is the energy with which everyone involved has abandoned all notions of taste.”

At The Sacramento Bee, Carla Meyer said Rogen is appealing.

“Rogen is so relatable, and so clearly always putting his best foot forward – he’s much more likely to appear sweaty from effort rather than unreadable, like Efron – that bad scenes seem foisted upon him,” she wrote.

“Such unerring likability cannot be learned. It comes as naturally to Rogen as the tufts of hair sprouting from his back and proudly sported throughout Neighbors.”

Joe Neumaier of New York Daily News singled out Rogen for trying “so hard to up the funny, riffing a million miles a minute, you worry that he’s headed for a heart attack.”

Neumaier said the movie seemed unending, even though it runs only 97 minutes.

“The laughs are rare while the tedium is plentiful,” he wrote.

Variety‘s Andrew Barker was a fan of “the eternally shirtless” Efron.

“[He] delivers the film’s most intriguing performance, crafting a dime-turning combination of brotherly earnestness and Mephistophelean sadism that will ring true to anyone who ever found themselves on the losing end of a wooden paddle,” opined Barker.

Justin Craig of Fox News called Neighbors “equal parts heart and raunch” and “all laughs.”

He gushed: “Neighbors is a perfect concoction of stoner comedy, slapstick and situational humor.

“While the ridiculous – and sometimes jaw-dropping revenge antics – provide the belly laughs, the film gets strong support by tapping in to a conflict many young adults experience: is your life over when you have a child?”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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