NEIGHBORS IS FUNNY. But there’s an interesting dynamic at play: a legitimate dramatic storyline, while driving the entire movie, is serious enough that it conflicts with the comedy. When a young couple-with-baby have neighbors from hell (a frat house) move in next door, a genuine and potent conflict arises — and there are no obvious solutions; just moving away is an idea promptly shot down.
The comedic yin and dramatic yang of Neighbors give it tension of the type that doesn’t exist in a pure comedy as say, Austin Powers, or even Superbad. Indeed, you can almost think of this movie as a cross between Animal House and Lakeview Terrace. The dramatic edge cuts into the funny face of the movie, and limits the all-out belly laughs. But it’s quite ingenious in it’s simple way. Because there’s no doubt this is a comedy, and likely the best of the year. And though the dramatic side may tousle with the comedic, it also holds the film up and sustains it from start to finish.
But don’t get me wrong: Neighbors is not particularly tense. This is not a life-and-death crime drama after all. It’s just a very successful comedy, and surprisingly so. As The Other Woman demonstrated, comedy is tough. The only real problem I had with Neighbors was a certain airbag sequence, but it was short-lived. 8/10.