The random laughs are sprinkled throughout this Rogenesque comedy — the shock-value profanity that the parents use in front of the toddler, the college dean (Lisa Kudrow) who will only do something about the fraternity's behavior when they make "headlines."
I love the stuff about the older couple straining to still seem "cool" to these kids who have no regard for anybody who isn't at their frat house, partying like it's 1979.
The fun is supposed to build from the elaborate plots the marrieds and the bros engage in to foil each other. Only, it doesn't.
Whoever the screenwriters, the Judd Apatow-trained Rogen makes sure there are a dizzying array of killer one-liners, such as Mac's reaction to the first time he sees Teddy shirtless.
"He's like something a gay guy designed in a laboratory!" Byrne, as she proved in "Bridesmaids" and "Get Him to the Greek," can hang with the bad boys in terms of laying it all out there and cursing like a sailor.
But for such a short comedy, "Neighbors" drags. Director Nicholas Stoller creates little momentum between the schemes and counter-schemes. Peripheral characters, while funny, show up and stop the action. Some of the "I love you, man" riffs between the bros are meant to be funny because they go on forever.
The outrageous stunts and boundary-pushing gags are as riotously funny as anything in any "Hangover" movie. And telling this story from both the frat brothers' and the indignant nearly-adults next door's point of view broadens the appeal. Yeah, we used to be like that. In our dreams.
But in between the belly laughs, "Neighbors" feels like a pulled punch, a mean comedy with a soft streak, a "Hangover" that never delivers the buzz.