Taking the next big step and actually maturing can be difficult – especially if that step involves post-university decisions or parenting. “Bad Neighbours” displays the surreal escape from both the responsibilities and the harsh realities of life when a fraternity moves in next door.
Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne are adapting to their new life as first-time parents. Residing in a seemingly family-friendly neighbourhood, the two unexpectedly find themselves with newly acquired neighbours in the form of a rowdy fraternity. The outwardly confident fraternity president played by Zac Efron is disillusioned with his priorities and only lives life in the present. The three try to get along, knowing they each have something to lose if they don’t co-operate. They even party together in order to establish a temporary relationship, but this relationship quickly goes awry.
Bad Neighbours finds an impressive amount of humour in the struggles young adults undergo. The college student unsure of his future avoids the topic entirely by seeking hedonistic experiences, mainly through hosting elaborate parties. Feeling as though he has no control in his life, he projects his lack of fulfillment through the leadership of a superficial organization. The later variation of this existential crisis is shown as insecure parenting. The young couple not only feels stuck with the enormous responsibility of caring for their own child but also doubts their ability to do so.
Despite the unfavourable qualities of Efron’s character, he proves his ability to express the internal conflict in maintaining one’s composure when facing reality or outright ignoring it. The secret depth to his character is contrasted by the light-hearted personality of Rogan’s character. In fact, the two actors would have better suited each other’s characters if personality was the telling criteria. Byrne’s more or less ordinary character ends up in the shadows of the male leads, though establishing an equal role in her on-screen relationship.
Rather than glamourise the freedom of the average 20-something, “Bad Neighbours” amusingly showcases the unfortunate situations the current young generation are dealing with.
Bad Neighbours is in UK cinemas from 9 May