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Feature


Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are a young couple with a newborn daughter. Missing their fading youth and freedom, the pair initially welcome the unexpected arrival of a Fraternity, led by Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) that move in next door but when the couple call the cops on the partying youngsters, things go sour and a war commences between the neighbours.

 Bad Neighbours
As an unapologetic fan of Seth Rogen I have to say that I enjoyed this boxoffice mega hit comedy immensely.  Despite not being written by Rogen (and long term collaborator Seth Goldberg) the film is obviously entrusted to their well developed style and Rogen has been allowed to make this his own at every turn. He once again depicts the modern average joe everyman perfectly, with that almost oblivious sense of the nonsense that makes people do ridiculous things when their status in society is put at risk. This time around he’s a guy in his 30s, struggling to let his wild youth go after having a child but rather than follow the usual movie clichés and have the wife as the one that’s constantly on his back about it all the time, we have Rose Byrne, who’s character is just every bit as bad as her husband. The pair are fantastic together really, bouncing funny lines off of one other with a great and believable husband and wife chemistry. They are so beutifually awkward when trying to be 'hip' around the kids it's almost Oscar worthy.

 Bad Neighbours
Of course, this is all funny stuff but like most movies, a film is usually only as good as its villain and Zac Efron more than delivers on that. Efron’s ‘Teddy’ is the likeable jock that even when enabling the worst of pranks on his neighbour’s, remains utterly enjoyable with it. The early scenes where Mac and Teddy befriend one another over their generation’s ‘Batman’ and proceed in doing impressions of Michael Keaton and Christian Bale is both hilarious and charming but when Teddy really ramps up the always funny but increasing more heinous pranks, he still retains a sense of likeability. Sure, some of the in-house Fraternity stuff is a little ridiculous and OTT at times but Efron and Dave Franco are totally going for it in terms of madcap, so it never feels forced or out of place within the larger, slightly more level headed movie.

Anyway, with all that said, Bad Neighbours (or just Neighbors in the US) is a blast from start to finish. I laughed pretty consistently, the plot never really lost its footing with more serious “struggling couple” elements and the mix of well-paced set pieces and improvised dialogue made for a fast moving, enjoyable romp that I could revisit with ease.

 Bad Neighbours

Video


This lush, clean and frankly great presentation is everything a modern HD presentation should be. There's nice sharp edges, well levelled colours that never get too pinky on skin tones and general a colour approach that keeps everything feeling real world rather than boosted to all hell. Brighter colours all look vivid and strong and the darker brown and oranges of the young couple's home gives a nice warmth to things. Throughout textures and details are all crisp and when bathed in natural light really do show off the quality in the presentation.

Switching to the Fraternity, the party scenes glow with neon and leap off the screen. Black levels are solid throughout and details and sharpness remain as strong as they were in the brighter scenes. Exterior night scenes also look great, with a real warmth to the lighting and a nice glow coming off of skin tones and flashy costumes. All in all there’s almost nothing to fault with the Bad Neigbours Blu-ray. It’s not showing off, or pushing the boat out with the dazzling visuals but for comedy about warring neighbours this HD presentation is doing absolutely everything it needs to be doing and more.

 Bad Neighbours

Audio


Once again, considering this is a relatively low scale comedy that barely deviates from two locations, the audio track still manages to thrive. Starting with the small stuff, the dialogue is consistently clear and well placed, whether whispering or shouting, everything is crisp and sturdy.

Stepping up a notch (or ten!) the bassy, dance tracks explode out of the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and at times, it’s not unlike being at an actual house party, with the thumping bass and sonic electronic waves. It pumps out the goods but keeps the dialogue layer well placed, so that we can still hear our characters talk without it sounding dubbed. Beyond that, general ambience is solid, multi layered placements of background noise (especially at parties) work well and while the range of the track isn’t all that wide, it never really calls for it either, so really there’s very little to let this audio track down.

 Bad Neighbours

Extras


The extras here are handful of the usual offerings from Universal comedies. There's am 'Alternate Opening' (06:40 HD) which is actually a later scene from the final cut of the film placed earlier with a much earlier introduction of Efron and the troops.

There's a whole selection of funny 'Deleted/Alternate Scenes' (01:55 HD)and the the usual great 'Line-o-rama' (02:52 HD) featuring alternative lines and chuckles.

Featuette wise we have 'An Unlikely Pair' (05:34 HD) which goes into the pairong of Rogen and Efron, 'Partying With The Bad Neighbours' (07:17 HD) which goes into the film a bit more and then 'On The Set With The Bad Neighbours (03:41 HD) and 'The Frat' (05:44 HD) which focuses on the shoot and the Frat gang.

 Bad Neighbours

Overall


Bad Neighbours has more than its fair share of highlights and on this rewatch there’s barely a scene that goes by with anything I would consider a dud in terms of chuckles. I laughed a whole lot at this one and found all of the characters enjoyable and flat out likeable which is always a good thing to have in a comedy. The video presentation is great, the audio thumping and the extras provide even more laughs intermingled with the usual fluffy EPK style featurettes. This one is an absolute blast and deserves its place as one of 2014’s best comedies.


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