A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Neighbors is a raunchy, hard-R comedy about a hard-partying college fraternity that moves in next door to a married couple with a baby. Starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, and Dave Franco, the comedy is overwhelmingly about sex, drugs, and pranks that aren't appropriate for most teens. The strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and much, much more) is nonstop; the gross-out humor includes lactating breast jokes and full-frontal shots of a prosthetic penis; and the sex features everything from semi-nude marital lovemaking to casual frat party hook-ups. That said, if you can see beyond the crude laughs, there are messages about what it means to become an adult and transition from all-night ragers to brunch and diapers.
What's the story?
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) Radner are living the late-20s dream: They're married, they own a beautiful house in a safe neighborhood, and they have an adorable baby girl, Stella. When the house next door is bought by a college fraternity led by President Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), the Radners put on their "we're still hip" faces and head out to meet their new NEIGHBORS in hopes of reminding them to keep it down late at night. Instead, the Radners are swept inside for their first all-night party in years. But neighborly feelings are put to the test when the Radners eventually call the police on the frat, sparking an escalating prank war between the new parents and the partying fraternity brothers.
Is it any good?
If you enjoy the sort of raunchy comedies that make you simultaneously blush, squirm, and laugh out loud (i.e. This Is the End, Superbad, and Knocked Up), this latest Nicholas Stoller/Seth Rogen comedy is for you. Blending a booze-and-boobs college party comedy with a more serious look at what happens when once-cool twentysomethings get married and have baby, Neighbors definitely requires you to suspend your disbelief. After all, why would only one set of neighbors on a leafy suburban street object to a fraternity moving onto the block? But once you've come to terms with the fact the movie is very much about the Radners versus the frat house, you can just sit back and enjoy the raunchy -- but nonetheless hilarious -- show.
And if you work hard to look beyond the gross-out gags and penis jokes, you'll see, as in most movies made by Judd Apatow's proteges, surprisingly thoughtful messages about college life versus adult life. Efron is perfect as Teddy, who may be gorgeous but is also vapid, having wasted his four years in college caring only about his fraternity. Playing his bromance partner/best friend is Dave Franco, who, unlike Teddy, actually has a plan to become an architect after graduation. As for Rogen and Byrne, they're the perennial new parents, dealing with the loss of their youth (and ability to party without consequences) but eventually savoring the richness of life with a baby. If you're a fan of Rogen and Co.'s brand of comedy, this is a must-see, but if gutter-minded jokes make you say "Well I never!," definitely sit this one out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Neighbors' portrays drinking and drug use. Are there any real-life consequences? Does the movie judge the partying fraternity members differently than the new parents who partake? Do you?
Talk about the movie's messages about college versus adulthood. How do the Radners finally come to terms with their new stage of life? What does Teddy realize about his college career?
Is the movie's frank depiction of married sex, college sex, sex toys, and full-frontal nudity too graphic for older teens? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
- In theaters: May 9, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: September 23, 2014
- Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne
- Director: Nicholas Stoller
- Studio: Universal Studios
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.