What would you do if a fraternity house moved in right next door to you?
This is the dilemna faced by Mac and Kelly Radner (played to perfection like a real couple by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne). They live on a quiet, tree-lined street with their absolutely adorable daughter Stella, who is perhaps the cutest baby ever to appear on screen. One day, they look outside the window and see a moving truck at the house next door. They go outside to see who is moving in, with the hopes that it is a couple with children. Instead what they encounter is a bunch of young men moving into the house, and not just young men who are sharing the house, but an actual college fraternity.
The men belong to a fraternity with a reputation for being the rowdiest at the nearby university. They are led by the hot Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron playing himself), who's intent, in his year as fraternity president, on getting his term as president on the fraternity's wall of fame. Helping him to break party records is his second-in-command Pete (Dave Franco, younger brother and lookalike of James Franco).
Mac and Kelly attempt to make piece with their new next door neighbours by greeting them when they move in. They also casually and cautiously tell them to keep the noise down. The boys agree, on the condition that if they are making too much noise, that Mac and Kelly should call them first instead of calling the police. So for a short time they are very friendly neighbours, and Mac and Kelly go over, hang out and get stoned, reliving their college days, which were oh, not so long ago. Then one night the frat house hosts a massive party, with very loud music, lots of lights, fireworks, and college kids spilling out of the house. Mac and Kelly call the cops anonymously, but when the cops arrive, they tell the boys that it was their next door neighbours who called to complain. Caller ID!
This leads to a campaign by the boys to retaliate against the Radners. And retaliate they do. They don't stop having parties; in fact, their parties get wilder, with pool parties in a newly-built pool complete with scantily clad young men and women. Another of their retaliation techniques is to move the airbags from Kelly's car and put them in cushions in their house and in chairs at Mac's place of business. (How they got into the car, into the house, and into Mac's place of business is not explained.) What are the Radners going to do? They can't raise cute Stella living next door to these crazy college kids. Should they move or continue to complain to the police? They do neither and decide to play along with them and their game.
Bad neighbours is a comedy, in case you couldn't figure it out. But the jokes are not really that funny. Sure, there are lots of college jokes about girls, penises, sex, penises and so on, but the jokes get pretty lame quickly. And just when you think the film is actually over, another plot point is introduced and you have to endure another 20 minutes. So Bad Behavior feels longer than it's 97 minutes. The boys, especially Efron and Franco, don't have much to do except stand around, most of the time with their shirts off, and tell the other boys what to do. But Rogen and Byrne save the movie. They have great onscreen chemistry, and if there was another movie with just them and their baby it would be much much better.
But as it is stands, Bad Neighbors is just another Zac Efron teen comedy. It's about time he grew up into adult roles.