I’m sure I read a favourable review somewhere about ‘Bad Neighbours’ recently or I may have dreamt it? More likely is that I simply willed a good review from my subconscious, such is the paucity of genuinely, laugh-out-loud films, that truly sustain their comic intensity from start to finish.
I wasn’t expecting much from this Nicholas Stoller offering… and I wasn’t disappointed in that regard.
Bad Neighbours is pure Hollywood, bums-on-seats, comedy-by-numbers kind of stuff. It sticks to the same, tired old formula, namely; everything in the garden’s rosy – along comes a big problem – what are we going to do? Cue conflict, followed by solution and soul searching. Ultimately everything works out in the end and most importantly of all, we all learn a good moral lesson from it as good prevails, hurrah!
It is of course unfair to judge a formulaic Hollywood comedy by its form and structure alone. These films are more often than not simply cobbled together as some kind of feature-length vehicle for the day’s latest comedian / comedic actor, but it is fair to judge it on whether it makes us laugh throughout and although that’s a subjective kind of thing, I have to say, Bad Neighbours falls badly wide of the mark on that front.
It could be the fact that the characters seemed at best two dimensional, lacklustre and are never really ‘examined’ or allowed to be truly comedic in their own right. How often do we watch a film purely for the comedy gold, ludicrous / slapstick acting of one key character, conveniently overlooking the fact that the film itself is essentially rubbish? Perhaps the fact that the madcap antics of a college fraternity house have been lampooned so much more convincingly in other films or maybe the script was just plain poor and actors that otherwise might have made a good fist of things are left to struggle through, manfully?
That said, there’s probably still just enough nonsense in this film to keep the target audience happy – just – but essentially Bad Neighbours is simply not convincing on any level at all, be it comedic acting, ‘gross-out’ gags or genuinely funny one-liners. It struggles on all fronts and not even the lovely Rose Byrne or the sight of a ‘ripped’ Zac Efron can save this one.
In the film’s defence, there were, admittedly, a couple of laugh out loud moments for me, but they were few and far between and certainly not enough to sustain it.
It’s not completely without positives and it’s certainly not the worst film I’ve ever seen.
Errr… I think I’ll just leave it at that.