Neighbors (Blu-ray)

September 25, 2014 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Ah, the fraternity movie…sometimes I think it’ll never go out of style. I suppose it’s natural to assume that the two best fraternity movies are, without a doubt, National Lampoon’s Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. There are others, yes, but these two fit the bill quite nicely.  Now let me come out and say that I’m not an anti-fraternity person – quite the opposite. You see in my adventure through college I managed to be initiated into not one, but two national social fraternities. I assure you that both were legit and I won’t bore anyone reading this with the details, but I can say that I never had to wear a bra on my head, was taped to a wall or was forced to do anything I didn’t want to do.  Was it a good experience?  I won’t say it was bad and, looking back, I’d have probably made the same choices I made before. I will say that movies like Animal House do give fraternities somewhat of a bad name as most are more involved in community service projects. Then again, all it takes is one person to have too much to drink, one person say they were hazed and the stereotypes will be renewed. Still, with college a good 15 years behind me now it’s fun to sit back, relax and watch some of the shenanigans that I was probably no doubt a part of.

Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne respectively) are new parents. They live in the perfect house with the perfect lawn and are adjusting to life with a young one quite well. This is short-lived as their next door neighbors put their house up for sale and is subsequently purchased by the gentlemen of Delta Psi Beta.  The Radner’s, not wanting to start off on the wrong foot, try to befriend the guys and have some fun. However when the parties persist, the cops are called and Mac’s word to Teddy (Zac Efron), the charismatic President of the house, is broken. Suffice it to say – war is declared. The rest of the film is devoted to little pranks and pratfalls that are played on one another (water pipes are cut flooding the basement, shrubs are cut in compromising positions, etc.). All Mac and Kelly want is a bit of peace and quiet and even try to get the Dean of the college (Lisa Kudrow) to play ball.  No dice. Will the countless parties ever stop?  Will the men of Delta Psi ever graduate or will Mac and Kelly have to raise their daughter with a fraternity house next door?

As evidenced by the box office of Neighbors, the fraternity movie is still alive and well. Grossing over $150 million this spring, the movie showed that Rogen (who is once again playing the exact same character as he has in every single movie) still has the chops to command a film. Zac Efron is the epitome of what you’d expect from a fraternity President and plays his role well along with Dave Franco (brother of James). I found some of the scenes to be genuinely funny, though this is a lot more raunchy that I’d have expected. There are various parts of the anatomy (both male and female) on display and I’ll just say that these scenes are handled with…creativity. While a tad bit predictable at times, I can see that this is one that I’ll probably watch once a year just for a few good laughs. Hell, maybe I’ll relive some of my old glory days?  Whatever the case, Neighbors is recommended but again, it’s got some pretty tasteless humor. You’ve been warned.

Video: How’s it look?

I’m running out of ways to approach some of these new to Blu-ray films, but as we might expect the 2.40:1 AVC HD image on Neighbors is just what we’d expect – an excellent-looking transfer of a new movie.  There are some rather interesting party scenes in which neon is used, which contrasted nicely with the dark interior.  Flesh tones are warm and natural, Rogen’s pale color contrasts nicely with Efron’s bronze physique. Detail is on the money as well, though there are a few scenes in which I wish the detail wasn’t quite as good as it was (when you see them, you’ll understand). All in all Universal has done a fine job here, as we’d expect.

Audio: How’s it sound?

It’s not often that a comedy has an amazing soundtrack, but I have to say that this movie had some scenes that literally rocked the house. There are several party scenes with music blaring in the background that really made the surrounds come alive. Vocals are crisp and clear and the LFE even had a few times to shine.  While the front stage took the brunt of the audio,  I still found my head turning a few times to “follow” the sound. This is a rich, robust DTS HD Master Audio mix and it’s sure to please.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack comes with the best of both worlds (obviously), though the Blu-ray does feature a few exclusives that the DVD doesn’t. Nevertheless, here’s a look at all of the features.

DVD Extras

  • Line-O-Rama – I’ve never really understood this feature and why Universal continues to put it on its discs. Still, it’s there if you like/want it.
  • Gag Reel – Plenty of goofs on the set.
  • An Unlikely Pair – Stating the obvious, members of the cast and crew discuss the differences between Efron and Rogen and why they worked so well together.
  • Partying with Neighbors – Literally that. This segment takes a look at some of the massive party sequences in the film. And there are plenty.

Blu-ray Exclusives

  • The Frat – To my point in the opening paragraph, this takes a look at fraternities today and how the public’s opinion of them has changed over the years.
  • Deleted Scenes – Some 13 minutes worth and I was surprised that a few weren’t included in the film as a few are pretty funny.
  • On the Set With… – Essentially a behind the scenes feature that has a few cast and crew interviews, but is primarily focused on Rogen.
  • Alternate Opening – Probably the most robust of the exclusive features, this 6 minute segment gives us a bit of history on how the Delta Psi’s last house was destroyed and provides a segue into the film. I can see why it was cut, but it’s nice to have nonetheless.
  • DVD/Digital HD Copy

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