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Film / Neighbors (2014)

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Neighbors (known as Bad Neighboursnote  outside of the U.S. in English speaking countries, to avoid confusion with the long-running hit Australian soap opera Neighbours) 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 much trouble for the couple.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (aka Bad Neighbours 2), which brings back Rogen, Byrne, Efron, Dave Franco (as Teddy's best friend Pete Regazolli), Ike Barinholtz (as Mac and Kelly's friend Jimmy Blevins), and Carla Gallo (as Jimmy's wife Paula Faldt) and enlists Chloë Grace Moretz (as sorority leader Shelby), was released in May 2016.

Not to be confused with the 1981 film starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, the 1920 Buster Keaton short, Norman McLaren's 1952 stop-motion short, an Australian soap opera, a 2012 science fiction sitcom, or a 2015 Tommy Wiseau sitcom.

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Neighbors provides examples of:

  • All Women Are Lustful: All the female characters are just as lustful as the men. In fact, the fraternity makes a huge profit from selling dildos.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Villain: Teddy isn't really a bad guy, just an immature one who refuses to grow up and is afraid of his limited prospects after college.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Mac and Kelly find their daughter playing with discarded condom. Their pediatrician tells them "Your baby has HIV", which clearly devastates them. When he continues talking, "... is how bad this could've gone. The condom was unused" they're pissed.
  • Be Yourself: What Shelby and the Kappa Nu girls ultimately learn. This allows them to not just attract other sororities and get enough money to keep the house, but also maintain their friendship and realize it isn't Kappa Nu; they are.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Stated by Kelly as the rule that frats "live and die" by.
  • The Bro Code: Directly referenced, and the attempt to avert this ends up being one of the strikes against the frat.
  • Brutal Honesty: The AT & T guy. When Teddy asks him what he means by "more academically inclined", he tells him that he's too dumb.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: While trying to break up the frat, Kelly gets Pete and Brooke drunk (while employing Discreet Drink Disposal with her own shots) to get them into bed together.
  • Calling Card: Jimmy loves leaving a calling card after he does a "crime", and he does so when he, Mac, and Kelly are able to attract more people than allowed to Delta Psi's party. Problem is, the frat's university uses a Latin motto, while Jimmy writes it in Hebrew.
  • The Cameo: A clip from The Office (US) plays on Mac and Kelly's TV, where Steve Carell appears as Michael Scott.
  • Character Development: On both sides by the end of the film.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The fireworks. Kelly and Mac use these to eventually get the cops attention.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Early in the film, we learn that Pete has the ability to get an erection at will. He later uses this skill to end his fight with Teddy via squick factor.
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: Teddy uses a blowtorch to light his joint before the final party.
  • 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.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: When Kelly is Pete and Brooke drunk so they'll have sex, she keeps plying them with shots of vodka. When Pete and Brooke drink theirs, Kelly tosses hers over her shoulder.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Mac notices that Kelly can't help but check out Teddy in his tank top.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The Radners invoke this trope when they get resident Butt-Monkey Ass Juice to get the Delta Psi their third strike. Subverted when he caves in and tells them everything.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Four In-Universe examples.
  • 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 Evil Has Standards: Knowing that the frats have booby trapped the house with airbags, Mac carefully tests every chair. He then carefully tests his daughter's crib, and is relieved that it's not booby trapped. In fact, most of the frats' more violent pranks focus on Mac and largely leave Kelly alone.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Mac, upon seeing Teddy for the first time, says that Teddy is the sexiest guy he's ever seen.
    "He looks like something a gay guy created in a lab."
  • Fan Disservice: The milking scene.
  • 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
  • Fiendish Fraternity: Played with and zigzagged. The Radners, a married couple with an infant, become annoyed at the fraternity who moves in next door, because they don't keep their noise down. However, the guys at Delta Psi Beta seem to be uncouth party boys at worst: most of the gruesomeness they get up to (e.g. dumping their trash on the Radners' lawn, a fight that injures a passing professor) is at least partially the result of their escalating feud with the Radners, who are notably surprised when Teddy shows kindness during the hazing ceremony.
  • 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.
  • Future Loser: We only catch a glimpse of Teddy's future but even in the present it's very apparent there's nothing good waiting for him after graduation, which is why he's trying so hard to keep the party going now.
  • 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; she knows the title as Chancellor instead (although Australian and other Commonwealth universities do use the term, usually at a level below the Chancellors).
  • 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.
  • Hand Wave: The film only briefly explains why the other neighbors aren't complaining about the noise, namely that frat members are doing chores for everyone in the neighborhood, except the Radners. This probably would not work in reality, but without this explanation, this movie's plot would grind to a halt.
  • Hidden Depths: Both sides have this. The Radners are a lot more like the frat boys than they initially appear to be. Teddy has deep anxiety about his future. Pete actually cares about his education and is on his way of making a future for himself.
    • The sequel goes even further with Teddy in this regard. He's actually quite smart but is absolutely unable to think about anything other than partying. For example: he shows he's able to do relatively fast math... but only if it's about calculating the prices of weed.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Kelly shoots a firework from a second storey window into a moving police car. It may have been Accidental Aiming Skills but she doesn't seem at all surprised when it happens.
  • Informed Judaism: Mac and Jimmy. At least Jimmy knows Hebrew enough to show off (with unfortunate result).
  • 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 airbag prank, including theft, breaking & entering and battery, but Mac never bothers to report it because Police Are Useless.
      • The sequels subverts this, as Teddy ended up with a substantial criminal record as a result of the events of the movie.
    • 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.)
  • Mirror Character: The Radners and Teddy are actually more similar to each other than they'd care to admit as they are both using this war to escape their anxiety of growing up. The Radners see Teddy as having the life they no longer have while Teddy sees the Radners as what he may potentially become (or what he is unable to become).
  • 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.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: The university has one (as in real-life universities). It becomes a plot point when Mac, Kelly, and Jimmy plan to spread the party to others. Jimmy writes in Hebrew as a Calling Card instead. Oops.
  • 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
  • Spiritual Successor: To Animal House, Delta Psi is basically Delta Tau Chi living next door to a family with Zac Efron's Teddy sharing traits with both Bluto and Otter and the fact both comedy films were released by Universal.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • 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.
    • As it turns out, the first movie caused Teddy to get a criminal record so he has trouble finding jobs by the time of the second movie.
    • A paediatrician joking about a baby contracting AIDS from a used condom isn't funny, it's horrifying. Mac and Kelly are understandably pissed.
  • 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.
  • Undying Loyalty: The one aspect of the fraternity that's depicted positively is that the brothers are genuine friends and care about each other's well being. Teddy is genuinely concerned about Assjuice having a freak out during a hazing session and offers to let him use his private bathroom to relax. Later on, he offers to take the heat for the party so Pete and the others won't have their futures ruined.
  • 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.
  • Villain Ball: Teddy taunting the Radners about their daughter. This is after the conflict has died down and it turns out to lead to the end of his frat. Justified as it's heavily implied that he wants the war to continue to deal with his anxiety over the future.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Teddy, for the most part. He eventually makes money on this by working for Abercrombie & Fitch.
  • 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. The sequel is also running on defying this concept, showing that Sororities are equally capable of pulling the same shenanigans.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: Despite all their violent pranks against Mac and Kelly, the frats avoid exposing their daughter to harm, at least until near the end when Teddy taunts the parents that he and his frats will do everything in their power to corrupt their daughter.

     Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising 

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising provides examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: Mostly averted. While Selena Gomez's scenes in the trailers add up to almost all of her screen time in the film, she appears in no other marketing material and gets a "with" credit along with Lisa Kudrow who get's slightly less screentime.
  • And Starring: Lisa Kudrow is given recognition as the Dean in the end credits.
  • Anti-Villain: Much like the frat in the first film Shelby and her friends are depicted pretty sympathetically for antagonists. They're immature and take things too far but they're also standing up against a genuinely sexist mentality and are anxious about being away from home for the first time in their lives and scared of being alone at college.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: In order to safe their house, Kappa Nu ends up resorting to the same sexist and demeaning behavior as the fraternities, the very behavior that drove them to create the sorority in the first place.
  • Call-Back:
    • Mac's coworkers go into a panic when they think the prank war from the previous movie has resumed.
    • Mac and Teddy us the airbags to try to escaped the locked garage. They're just as ridiculously overpowered as they were in the previous movie.
  • Comically Small Bribe: When Dean Gladstone refuses to do anything about Kappa Nu, Kelly slides a handful of change across the desk to her and says "Here's a little something to change your mind." The Dean pockets the change, but when Kelly asks if they have a deal, Dean Gladstone says no.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Teddy invokes this trope at the tailgate when he dances shirtless to distract the Kappa Nu girls from their booth...everything goes well until he shows his dick.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: One of Teddy's main motivations during the movie is his desperate need to feel valued.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Again for all parties. The Kappa Nus make enough money to keep their house and decide to thank the Radners for helping them by renting theirs out so they have space for all of their members to live. The Radners then move to their new home where they can't even see their neighbors. Teddy finally finds his niche by starting a successful gay wedding planning business and patches things up with Pete, who has Teddy be his best man at his wedding.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even Teddy is disturbed by some of the Kappas' antics and when he finds out they plan to deal drugs to pay their rent, he tries to talk them out of it. They respond by kicking him out.
  • Happy Ending Override: Teddy ended the first movie in a good place after some Character Development, but as a result of his antics from the last film, he ends up with a criminal record and losing his job by the time of this movie. Luckily he winds up in an even better place by the end of this film.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Teddy starts the movie on the side of the sorority but switches sides halfway through.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: The Kappa Nu sisters are so focused on getting back at the Radners that they completely forget about finding money for their rent.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • The girls of Kappa Nu all believe that "guys are idiots", but engage in a lot of idiotic antics and would've been unable to create their sorority on their own without Teddy's help.
    • One of the things driving the girls to create Kappa Nu is the way frat boys objectify them, but they constantly ogle Teddy.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Teddy says it after he and Mac get home from grocery shopping; he yells "Honey, I'm home!"
  • Interrupted Intimacy: In the opening, Mac and Kelly are having sex when she becomes nauseous due to her second pregnancy and vomits all over Mac's face, essentially killing the mood.
  • Jerkass Realization: Teddy has one in regards to his frat behavior after the Kappas tell him why they hate frat parties.
  • Karma Houdini: The Kappa Nu's actually get away with their antics and even gain more members from other Sororities. The Radners end up renting out their home to them.
  • Manchild: Teddy is in the exact same place in his life he was at during the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue of the previous movie, while his friends and frat brothers have become responsible adults. This becomes even more pronounced when he moves in with the Radners and they have to take care of him like a child.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: The poster.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Teddy switches sides and helps the Radners because the sorority girls turn on him and kick him out for trying to talk them out of their drug dealing scheme, despite everything he has done for them.
  • More Deadly Than the Male:
    • Kappa Nu's attacks against the Radners are nowhere near as physically dangerous as Delta Psi's, but are considerably meaner.
    • When Delta Psi was in need of cash they resorted to skeevy but harmless means. When Kappa Nu becomes desperate for cash they become actual drug dealers and ruthlessly eliminate all the competition on campus, sending them all to jail.
    • Unlike Delta Psi's pledges, who were definitely loyal to the frat, Kappa Nu has literal minions who do all the grunt work and never get to participate in the parties.
  • Morning Sickness: How Kelly finds out she's pregnant again. By vomiting on Mac while having sex.
  • No Pregger Sex: Interestingly, Mac and Kelly didn't even know they were expecting again until right in the middle of sex and Kelly throws up on Mac.
  • Plot Hole: The first film explained why the other neighbors didn't complain about the noise the frat made, namely that the frat members were doing chores for them. In this film, Kappa Nu does no such thing so there's no reason for the other neighbors to not complain as well.
  • Police Brutality: Played for Laughs twice. Garf has joined the town's police force since graduating and wonders why he needs to wear a body camera since he's a black guy. Later on, Watkins (who is also black) manhandles two groups of pot dealers who are Caucasian but is extremely polite to the group of black pot dealers, much to Garf's confusion.
  • Revenge: Teddy is partially motivated to help Shelby and her friends get their sorority started out of a desire to get payback on the Radners, as the criminal record the previous movie left him with has made it difficult for him to get a good job. He later switches sides and teams up with the Radners because the Kappa Nu's kick him out.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Kappa Nu holds a bat-mitzvah-style party for Shelby after she loses her virginity.
  • Shout-Out: Kelly's maiden name is Dhundee. Teddy immediately brings up the movie, only to be violently corrected about the pronunciation.
  • Sinister Sorority Sisters: Kappa Nu are idiotic straw feminists, who kick out Teddy, who helped them to start the sorority, because "guys are idiots". They're pretty dumb themselves, and when they need money, they become drug dealers, sending all their competition on campus to prison. Even then, they don't do their own dirty work, but get minions to do it for them.
  • Straw Feminist: Subverted with Shelby, who is set up to be this, being a misandrist with daddy issues that MUST throw parties for a month in order to subvert sexist anti-sorority rules.note  However, she quickly resolves tensions with her father, pointing out to him that being at college means she gets to be her own parent, and she respects Teddy when he offers to help her, at least at first. The final element of her character is played with as it's shown how damaging frat parties are for girls, but Shelby decides to take a more realistic solution for the problem she causes in the end by renting the Radner home as an overflow house while still throwing fun sorority parties.
    • It's implied that Shelby's dad is more than a bit feminist himself: he says to her "So you get to be as dumb as boys now?" This is perhaps one reason why they resolve their issues so easily.
  • The Stoner: Taken to even greater heights as the previous movie, since not only are all the characters marijuana smokers, but the sorority girls monopolize all the pot dealing in town.
  • Team Dad: Teddy becomes this to Kappa Nu, taking them under his wing and mentoring them on how to set up their Sorority. Unfortunately for him, when he tries to rein them in for going overboard, they decide to kick him out.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailers and posters make it seems as if Teddy is on the Radners side from the beginning and that they contacted him from help. In the actual movie he starts off on the girls' side and only switches teams halfway through the movie after being betrayed by the Kappa Nu sisters.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Kelly, really, if you feel ill while having sex on top of Mac, just go to the bathroom, don't lean right over him...oh god, too late.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Teddy is constantly taking off his shirt.
  • We Need a Distraction: When the Radners and Teddy need to distract the girls in order to steal the marijuana they're selling at the tailgate Teddy oils himself up and begins dancing shirtless on a stage, confident that every single Kappa Nu will be too busy Eating the Eye Candy to notice the theft.

Alternative Title(s): Bad Neighbours