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Film: Neighbors 2014

Neighbors is a 2014 comedy film directed by Nicholas Stoller. It stars Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron.

Mac and Kelly Radner (Rogen and Byrne) are a married couple with a newborn baby, and they find that raising a child has cut into their social life. Things become more complicated when a fraternity led by Teddy Sanders (Efron) moves in next door, causing trouble for the couple.

This film provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Mac and Kelly are just trying to raise their daughter in peace. However they are also far less mature than they like to pretend and very willing to play dirty to get rid of the fraternity, including committing very serious property damage and trying to set up a relationship between Pete and Brooke (Teddy's best friend and girlfriend) without displaying any qualms about it.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Apparently Delta Psi is responsible for inventing toga parties, beer pong, and the boot and rally. Subverted when Pete explains that hundreds of fraternities have also claimed credit for inventing them.
  • Big Bad: Teddy.
  • Book Dumb: Teddy might be this. His grades are very poor (because he apparently never goes to class) and he's hopelessly naive about the 'legacy' of Delta Psi but otherwise he seems pretty sharp in contrast to the genuinely stupid likes of Scoonie and Garf. Notably he realizes the importance of winning over the neighbors (at least at first) and it's his idea to sell Delta Psi dildos, making the fraternity a lot of money.
  • The Bro Code: Directly referenced, and the attempt to avert this ends up being one of the strikes against the frat.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The fireworks. Kelly and Mac use these to eventually get the cops attention.
  • Deconstructive Parody:
    • Of the frat boy comedies Rogen starred in. Namely, it shows how reasonable people would act surrounded by characters from these movies, and how the frat guys are pathetic, petty Man-Children who are unwilling to accept maturity.
    • It also deconstructs The Stoner, with the characters' (both the Radners' and the frat boys') habitual use of both weed and weed jokes with their friends depicted as a major sign of their inability to grow up and let go of their Glory Days.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Mac notices that Kelly can't help but check out Teddy in his tank top.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Two In-Universe examples.
  • Dueling-Stars Movie: The advertising has pretty much been "Seth Rogen (and Rose Byrne) vs. Zac Efron".
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For both parties. The fraternity moves closer to the campus i.e away from Mac and Kelly, allowing them to raise Stella in peace, and Teddy grows up and gets a post-college career as a male model while taking night courses to boost his GPA. He and Mac also make up.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Mac, upon seeing Teddy for the first time, says that Teddy is the sexiest guy he's ever seen.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Mac's workplace may be one of accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers. The wall logo looks suspiciously similar to that of PWC's
  • Forged Message: Mac and Kelly forge a letter from their college convincing them they are off probation, causing the fraternity to receive a third strike.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Kelly believed that the Dean's actual name was Dean rather than her job title. This is due to her being an Australian and being unfamiliar with the term (although Australian and other Commonwealth universities do use the term, usually at a level below the Chancellors that Kelly mentions).
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Kelly makes out with Brooke in the frat house to turn Pete on, and then makes out with him as well. Kelly finally manages to coerce the pair, Pete and Brooke, into making out afterwards, and later, sex.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The fraternity, especially Teddy, are depicted surprisingly sympathetically, while Mac and Kelly do some pretty dark things during the feud. Neither side comes across as fully bad or fully good.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Mac and Kelly hate the fact that their becoming parents has put a major crimp on their old social lives. Likewise, a major part of Teddy starting the dispute is due to wanting to live in the now rather than face the fact that he has few prospects after college.
  • Informed Judaism: Mac and Jimmy.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Mac, egged on by Kelly, breaks the fraternity's water pipe, flooding their basement and causing thousands of dollars of property damage. The Radners would be looking at an extremely serious fine or even jail time, but luckily for them the cops never find out, likely because Delta Psi themselves don't want the police snooping around their house.
    • Teddy would also be facing several serious charges for his air bag prank, including theft, breaking & entering and battery, but Mac never bothers to report it because Police Are Useless.
    • Then there's Kelly, who launched a firework directly into a police cruiser.
  • Market-Based Title: In the UK and Australia, it's known as Bad Neighbours to avoid confusion with the Australian Soap Opera Neighbours. (Ironically, co-star Rose Byrne is herself Australian.)
  • Mr. Fanservice: Teddy, natch, when you're played by Zac Efron, you're automatically this. It also helps him get a post-college career at Abercrombie & Fitch, and there's a prolonged Shirtless Scene at the end that seems to say "Thanks for watching, ladies, and now: here's the reason you bought a ticket."
  • Near Villain Victory: Teddy almost manages to get the cops to leave his party at the end of the film. Luckily, several developments allow his plan to fail.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers make the feud look very one sided with the fraternity depicted as purely malicious bullies terrorising the innocent Radners. In the actual film the feud is much more a Grey and Gray Morality one, with Teddy and his friends having several Pet the Dog moments while the Radners stoop pretty low themselves.
  • Not so Above It All: Mac, Kelly, and the frat leaders are fully willing to play dirty in order to get what they want.
  • One of the Kids: Mac and Kelly. Leads to a pretty humorous argument where he feels Kelly should be the responsible one.
  • Parenting the Husband: Refreshingly averted; not only does Kelly help Mac with the schemes against the frat, but she's appalled when Mac admits he wants her to be the one who keeps him from doing crazy/stupid things, responding that just because she's the wife doesn't mean she doesn't have the urge to do crazy things too.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: The "Lion's Den" (i.e. the storeroom of important stuff like drugs, alcohol, fireworks, and ping pong paddles), is protected by a three-digit password. Mac and Kelly have little trouble guessing that a bunch of fairly immature stoners like Delta Psi would use "420" for the password.
  • Police Are Useless: Big time. They don't respond to a noise complaint and the responding officer actually warns the frat that they got a complaint. Though it is at least partly the fault of the Radners as they lie outright about making an anonymous complaint and then immediately get caught in another lie about partying with the frat the previous evening.
  • Reality Ensues: Pete tries his hardest to convince Teddy that, despite his fraternity achievements being Serious Business to him, they don't matter a whole lot outside of college, and that he needs to focus less on Delta Psi shenanigans and more on what he'll do after graduation. By the end, Teddy realizes that Pete was right, and he starts attending night school to make up for lost time.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Pete.
  • Second Act Breakup: Subverted; Mac and Kelly have the stereotypical argument where Kelly ends up leaving him with their daughter. The very next scene the two quickly make up.
  • Shout-Out
  • The Stoner: Everyone. Literally, everyone. Though, see Deconstructive Parody above.
    • While almost everyone else in the film is also this Mac fits the image best, bringing over weed to the frat house a peace offering, getting stoned while at work and realising Teddy's combination lock number could only be 420.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: After Jimmy jumps from the balcony he declares that he's definitely not a distraction, which sends Teddy running back upstairs.
  • Take That: "Have you seen a Kevin James movie?"
  • This Loser Is You: Teddy. As Pete points out, Teddy has no real plans post-college, none of the frat's accomplishments were real, and he accuses Teddy of starting the war out of fear that he'll end up like Mac.
  • The Vamp: Kelly invokes this. Her plan to break up Teddy and Pete's bromance is to make out with both Pete and Teddy's girlfriend, Brooke and then coercing the pair into having sex.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: A Deconstructive Parody of such, showing what they look like to other people.
  • We Need a Distraction: To get Teddy downstairs and away from the door, Jimmy jumps from the balcony and breaks his leg.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Shades of this. Mac meets Teddy outside Abercrombie & Fitch, and they discuss not only where they are in life, but also Pete and the other members of the frat. When Mac returns home, he and Kelly get a video call from their friends, tying that subplot off.
  • Women Are Wiser: Defied and mocked by Kelly when Mac asks her why she's not reining in his crazy revenge fantasies — she herself has those same urges.
    • Seth Rogen stated in an interview that the wife character was written in the usual way until he showed his real wife the script and she pointed out that she'd get just as into it as he did.


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