Hey sass queen,
I was pleasantly surprised by this one! In a milieu where hunky guys do superhero flicks and Oscars are given to pretty women who break out of their typecast, Zac Efron is content to simply be hot. And hot he is, my god. A new Marlon Brando, Efron became a sex symbol for tweens with his star turn in High School Musical on Disney Channel, but now he’s all grown up. I like the new adult Efron.
In Neighbors, the new comedy from Nicholas Stoller (The Five-Year Engagement, Get Him To the Greek), we see a glimpse of something more from Efron — an actor still riding his sex appeal while flexing some acting muscle (and lots of physical muscle, too). His role in this comedy is mostly to be cute — unapologetic male eye candy for our times — but his performance hints at more challenging and layered roles in the years ahead. I’m excited to see them.
His Neighbors character is a frat bro, complete with abs and bad manners. But then something changes in the film’s third act. The light changes. He’s sitting in a wheelchair, brandishing a baseball bat, plotting his next attempt to get back at Mac and Kelly (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne), the newly married couple that moves into the house next door. He looks dangerous, a kid on the verge of adulthood who may really get into trouble. It’s a darker moment, a few seconds when the film switches out of comedy to give Efron’s villain a twinge of depth.
Besides that, the film is the standard fare you expect in a Seth Rogen comedy. Pranks get pulled. Poop jokes and pot jokes. Boobs and dicks. Neighbors unfolds as we expect. We cling along for the punchlines between Rogen and Byrne (and for their strong onscreen chemistry) and to see Zac Efron from every angle — a tanned and shirtless god we’ll never stop wanting.
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