Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are a young couple trying to convince themselves that being married and having a baby doesn’t mean they have to give up on having fun, even if all their attempts at having fun fizzle out. So when a fraternity moves in next door – seriously, aren’t there laws against a bunch of teenage guys buying a house in a suburban street to turn it into a party dungeon? Obviously not – they try to befriend the frat’s leaders, Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco). Despite their embarrassing “cool neighbour” act, things start well and a massive party night seems to have sealed their bond … only the frat guys are partying again the next night, and Mac and Kelly need time to recover. But when their attempt to get the frat to settle down backfires, it kicks off a prank war that neither side can hope to win – though they’re both going to put in a lot of effort trying.
Rogen and Byrne are spot-on as a loving couple desperate to still be fun, while Efron and Franco do just as well as dumb but basically good-hearted frat guys. The lack of any real villains here (each side sees themselves as legitimately reacting to the others’ provocation, even when it involves flooding a basement or hiding car airbags in office chairs) and some cartoony set-pieces keeps the overall tone light, but director Nicholas Stoller grounds the laughs in enough real life concerns – this is a surprisingly savvy look about aging and coming to terms with the fact that you can’t keep doing everything you used to – to keep this from just being a bunch of stoner jokes … Then again, the frat does pay its bills by selling anatomically correct dildos; there’s probably not too much of a lesson to be learnt from that.
Written by Anthony Morris