Having previously teamed up for 2011’s Bad Teacher, director Jake Kasdan reunites with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel for R-rated comedy Sex Tape. Though it starts strong and finishes well, script flaws mean it’s unfunny for the majority of its run time, squandering the potential of a great cast and an entertaining premise.
Seth Rogen and Nicholas Stoller are responsible for some of the funniest comedies of the noughties, from 2007’s Superbad to The Five-Year Engagement (2012). Bad Neighbours (2014) marks the first time the Apatow alumni have teamed up, and on this evidence it’d be a shame if it was the last; frequently earning hearty audience laughs, both director and actor are at the top of their game in this impressive entry.
Rogen and Rose Byrne play Mac and Kelly, a young and married couple who are struggling to adjust to a quieter life with their new-born baby. Not helping matters is the arrival of the Delta Psi Beta fraternity led by Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco), who set up shop next door. In a desperate bid to avoid future squabbles, Mac and Kelly do their best to bond with their obnoxious new neighbours, even offering them a joint as a friendly welcome gift. As Delta Psi’s outrageous parties get louder and wilder however, war is declared and a myriad of pranks ensue.
Prolific man-child director Judd Apatow is back in the producer hot-seat for The Five-Year Engagement (2012), an entertaining romantic comedy which will please Apatow fans as well as appeal to broader audiences. Directed by Nicholas Stoller, the plot follows Tom (Jason Segel, reuniting with Stoller) and Violet (Emily Brunt) who become engaged after a unique proposal in the film’s opening minutes.
Plans are made and venues are booked, but when Violet jumps at the chance to pursue her academic career in Michigan, Tom agrees to delay the wedding and put his own career as an aspiring chef on hold. Predictably, Tom’s willing sacrifice soon turns into resentment; Violet thrives in her new position while Tom wastes his talent preparing sandwiches in a deli, lamenting what could have been. As the planned two year stay is continually extended, more and more obstacles emerge for the likeable couple.
Read the rest of this review on CineVue here.