** and 1/2 out of ****
Neighbors, the latest R-rated comedy smash, is a hit-and-miss affair that gets just enough laughs to leave you wishing it had been a little better.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play new parents who've invested every dime they own into their home. They're horrified when a frat led by Zac Efron moves in next door and starts partying well into the night. After an initial attempt to ingratiate themselves with the college students, the young couple call in a noise complaint against the fraternity. This leads into a war of one-upsmanship between the two houses.
All of this could've turned into a dull series of escalating pranks, but Neighbors thankfully gives a little more depth to its characters than that. Rogen and Byrne are afraid that they're becoming curmudgeonly old people, and Efron and his cohorts are afraid that Rogen and Byrne are a glimpse of who they'll be in just a few years.
As for the gags, some work and some don't. One other plus in Neighbors' favor is that it clocks in at 96 minutes in an era when even comedies are bloating their running time to nearly 2 hours. Rogen fans will likely enjoy this.