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John Lui
Sunday, May 18, 2014

Showbiz

Film pick: Bad Neighbours (R21)

The Straits Times | John Lui | Sunday, May 18, 2014

97 minutes l Rating: 4/5

The premise - frat boys versus the grown-ups - sounds like an idea lifted from the Adam Sandler's big fat book of stupid movie concepts. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne, both left) are a couple with a new baby, coming to terms with the end of their social lives. New people move in next door. They turn out to be a men's fraternity, Delta Psi Beta, headed by the charismatic Teddy (Zac Efron), assisted by Pete (Dave Franco). Mac and Kelly, concerned that the boys will disrupt the peace, try to extract a promise of good behaviour.

But this work proves that in comedy, premise is secondary to characters and believable situations. The distressed parents want peace and quiet, but they also fear being viewed by the young frat brothers as crotchety party-poopers.

Efron is very good as the fraternity president with a Peter Pan complex while Byrne, with her natural Aussie accent on full display, is terrific as the hipster parent who turns Tiger Mum when the chips are down. Rogen is, well, Rogen, but that essence of gentle man-boy works very well here.

This article was published on May 16 in The Straits Times.

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