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Bad Neighbours: A crass riot

Nicholas Stoller's dude comedy Bad Neighbours overloads on lewd gags and juvenile pranks.

SINGAPORE: Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play Mac and Kelly Radner, a couple who have just moved into their suburban American home with their baby daughter.

Their peaceful lives are rudely jolted when Teddy Sanders (played by Zac Efron) and his hard-partying college fraternity buddies move in next door.

Their nightly carouses won’t stop, and the exasperated Radners call the police.

All hell breaks loose as the neighbours go on a warpath, engaging in tit-for-tat action against each other.

In Bad Neighbours, don’t expect good, clean fun. The jokes are crass, and sometimes fall flat.

Teddy and his sidekick Pete (played by Dave Franco) making up variations of “bros before hos” is cringe-worthy dialogue.

The attempt at slapstick violence is also painful to watch - Mac gets tossed out of his seat once too many times thanks to Teddy’s car airbag prank.

In addition, the movie’s subplots are not well developed.

There appears to be more complex issues in Teddy and Pete’s friendship, but viewers are left high and dry as the movie doesn’t delve deeper.

Efron, best known for starring in Disney’s High School Musical, is surprisingly tame in his role as the nasty alpha-male.

Looks-wise, he fits the bill as the bare-bodied fraternity president, but he lacks charisma as the leader of boisterous college boys.

But director Nicholas Stoller, of Forgetting Sarah Marshall fame, has done it again - under the lewd humour and juvenile pranks lies Mac and Kelly’s heartwarming romance.

Mac and Kelly are a likeable couple - the movie depicts Rogen and Byrne as new parents with real concerns and they pull off their roles with comic chemistry.

The movie also touches on coming-of-age insecurities and dilemmas.

The Radners are disdainful of their rowdy neighbours, but still hope to be seen as cool kids and are tempted to join in the party.

On the other hand, Teddy struggles to hold on to the last moments of his teenhood, using his hard-partying lifestyle to escape the realities of growing up.

The supporting characters also offer some laughs.

Lisa Kudrow is hilarious in her cameo as the university dean whom the Radners approach in their attempt to evict their neighbours.

Craig Roberts also brings comic relief as Assjuice, a fraternity wannabe who gets mercilessly tormented by Teddy and co.

Bad Neighbours is not memorable, but can bring a few laughs. If you’re looking for some depraved humour, this movie is right up your alley.

2.5/5 stars.

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