May 28, 2014

"Neighbors"

Seth Rogen plays a new father whose pleasant domestic life with his lovely wife and extremely cute baby is disrupted when a loud college fraternity, headed by Zac Efron, buys the house next door. Torn between wanting to still seem cool to the kids and getting them to turn the damn music down so they can get some sleep, the couple eventually launches a maniacal plot against the bros.

Neighbors is consistently mildly amusing, although not as funny as Rogen's This Is the End last year. One problem is that Rogen isn't really cut out for playing the over-the-top fat guy in the tradition of John Belushi, John Candy, and Chris Farley (although he's probably going to live longer). Nor is he a surprisingly graceful fat guy in the tradition of W.C. Fields, Jackie Gleason, and Kevin James. Rogen's more the voice-of-reason type of lazy guy who makes other people around him funnier. 

The funniest thing I've ever seen Rogen to do was a joint interview with Barbra Streisand on Dr. Phil promoting some movie they made together. Not surprisingly, Streisand is a tad megalomaniacal, and Rogen egged her on and quietly undermined her, directing attention to her elderly diva mania, apparently without her noticing. (I presume they'd plotted it beforehand, but who knows?)

Rose Byrne, a generically pretty Australian actress, plays Rogen's wife. She's given lots of opportunity to be funny in long conversations with Rogen, but her Down Under accent keeps reminding me that this would be more amusing if her role had been played by Rebel Wilson, the fat, blonde, and remarkably malicious Australian comic actress. Perhaps Wilson's getting over-exposed, but I've only seen her in her jaw-dropping cameo as the hostile roommate who evicts Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids and as the self-confident Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect.

One question is why Seth Rogen's character, a schlub with a lousy cubicle job whose main source of workday satisfaction is smoking a joint with his loser buddy in the alley, has a starlet-looking wife. The simplest explanation would be that he'd recently inherited a few million from his Nana, which is hardly unbelievable these days. But, as Thomas Piketty points out, bequests never seem to come up in movies, even though inheritances were a rich source of drama in 19th Century novels.
  

68 comments:

Simon in London said...

"One question is why Seth Rogen's character, a schlub with a lousy cubicle job whose main source of workday satisfaction is smoking a joint with his loser buddy in the alley, has a starlet-looking wife"

I know a US couple like that. The reason is that's what the wife wants. For one thing, the guy who knows he got lucky treats her really well!

Anonymous said...

Put me in the Hornaday camp. Every time I see Seth Rogen with some hot chick in the role he is playing I think "no way!"

Now, if he were playing himself as a rich director, I could understand it.

Joël Cuerrier said...

Otherwise, I mean, we are going ONWARD TO GOLGOTHA! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfo-TE4qX6w

ScarletNumber said...

Rebel Wilson recently starred in the ABC sitcom Super Fun Night.

The best part of the show was the theme song, which was the cast singing "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen.

slumber_j said...

The funniest thing I ever saw Rogan do was the Cross Joint scene in Pineapple Express--although I guess Steve's analysis of his skills applies there too. Anyway: "Equip me, Sir!!"

Rob said...

It didn't strike me as a huge mismatch. One match I couldn't bring myself to believe in was Will Forte and his ex(ish) girlfriend in Nebraska.

Jason Roberts said...

Rebel Wilson is also in Pain and Gain.

Anonymous said...

"Now, if he were playing himself as a rich director, I could understand it."

Doesn't always work for Seth Rogan. Nerdism is so powerful against beautiful women, it can even undermine fiscal advantage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8fmzvPj-SM

pretty vacant said...

I dunno, Byrne actually seems a bit unusual for an Aussie import -- the ones who do get parts over here tend to have a background in the big domestic TV series (read: soap operas) and can look quite generic indeed, almost like default cover models for Redbook or Men's Health. e.g. the guy on "House," or Isla Fisher, or Liam Hemsworth, or Rachael Taylor (recently appearing as the least believable FBI agent ever -- no anti-blondism intended)

Dartangnan19 said...

Steve, This is the End is funny? No one laughed when I saw it and half the audience walked out.

Anonymous said...

OK....Hornaday is giving us the usual feminist claptrap about it all being the fault of eeevil white men, but Hollywood IS partly to blame for the cultural mess we are in.

If she were a he, and if he had blamed it on Jews, you'd be on board, wouldn't you, Steve?

Dave Pinsen said...

Rebel Wilson is also in Pain & Gain, Steve (she does nice work there too).

albert magnus said...

Hugh Grant's character in Nick Hornby's "About a Boy" makes his income from inheriting the rights to his father's Christmas song. Also, Arrested Development is sort of about inheritence, or at least people acting like they are getting a big inheritence.

Anonymous said...

There is a deleted scene from "40 Year Old Virgin" where Rogen's character explains to Steve Carell's virgin why it is that an ugly-looking guy like himself can bag hot chicks. It's pure Roissy.

Anonymous said...

Did it start with The Graduate? The decidedly looking Jewish kid getting the hot Gentile chick. The underlying material and the names may be WASP central, but the imagery on screen repeats this male Jewish fantasy again and again. I wonder how much these images played in cranking up Jewish intermarriage to more than 50%? I feel bad for Jewish women sometimes. Other than black women, can one think of a single category of female considered to be less sexy?

Anonymous said...

Kings of Summer. Now that is a thoughtful film about heartache.
My fav since Twilight.

So wonderfully cinematic

http://youtu.be/5kWEAZBWHqg

Anonymous said...

http://www.racialicious.com/2014/05/28/quoted-reappropriate-on-fighting-misogyny-in-asian-american-communities/

Too funny

Roid Rage said...

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/california-shooting-british-serial-killer-3614553

Roid rage and homosocial bodybuilding cults.

Mr. Anon said...

"One question is why Seth Rogen's character, a schlub with a lousy cubicle job whose main source of workday satisfaction is smoking a joint with his loser buddy in the alley, has a starlet-looking wife."

Same way that George Costanza in Seinfeld always had pretty girlfriends - wish fullfillment. Jewish guys in Hollywood love to pair themselves up with shiksas. So Seth Rogen always ends up with the likes of Rose Byrne or Katherine Heigl.

That Rogen is popular and Apatow successful I can only chalk up to America's declining tastes. I see nothing in their work (if that's the right word for what they do) to justfy its popularity. Rogen, in particular, is massively unfunny, has a grating personality, and an even more grating voice.

Most comedies today, just like the deluge of comic-book inspired movies, seem like nothing so much as the attempt of one particular tribe to foist off their own neuroses and biases on America with the admonition - here America, this is your culture.

Well, it ain't mine.

Dahlia said...

Satoshi "pictures did not exist on the ancestral Savannah" Kanazawa, your attention is needed at this thread!

Anonymous said...

The fat man with the beautiful wife is a sitcom convention that goes back at least to the Honeymooners. Does it go back any further than that?

DR said...

I know a US couple like that. The reason is that's what the wife wants. For one thing, the guy who knows he got lucky treats her really well!

Statistically marriages where the husband is more attractive than the wife fail at higher rates. It probably is due to this effect. Women are sweet and caring regardless. But men are jerks unless they feel grateful.

moose said...

Seth Rogen with hot chicks - Hollywood screen writers fantasies.

Anonymous said...

Steve, didn't you see Rebel Wilson in "Pain and Gain" as well?

Grey Enlightenment said...

It seems like jews are always playing schlub characters

BurplesonAFB said...

Rob: have you never been to the Midwest? Obese girl/ boring but slim male couples are extremely common. You usually don't see such plain looking women in films though, I'll grant you that

Anonymous said...

"Did it start with The Graduate?"

Maybe Casablanca. But Bogey was man enough to let the ho go.

Jack Spratt said...

On the shlub and bombshell (or at least pretty nice thing) is unusual.

Generally you have the "Jack Spratt Could eat no fat his wife could eat no lean, but together they licked the platter clean."

Skinny teacher and fat psychopathic wife mentioned in Pink Floyd's The Wall.

That's the standard pairing IMHO.

Dennis Dale said...

They tried inverting the fat guy/hot girl trope in Bachelorette: Rebel Wilson is engaged to an utterly devoted Prince Charming (they ignored the implication I'm sure occurred to many in the audience: he must be G-A-Y).
Was Rogen behind Superbad? Because that one takes the hoary cliché of the nice guy gets the girl due to his inherent decency to absurdity: Jonah Hill hooks up with Emma Stone despite not only a complete lack of that decency, but no personality or game to speak of to counter his physical repugnance. Hell, even McLovin had a certain disarming vulnerability.
Maybe the WaPo harridan has a point. Of course, she might as well implicate the whole of the sexual revolution. What does she expect to come of campaign after campaign against such as "slut shaming"?

Anonymous said...

"There is a deleted scene from "40 Year Old Virgin" where Rogen's character explains to Steve Carell's virgin why it is that an ugly-looking guy like himself can bag hot chicks. It's pure Roissy."

Yeah but generally those kind of pairs in movies aren't portrayed as ugly jerks being mean to pretty girls with low self-image.

Anonymous said...

"If she were a he, and if he had blamed it on Jews, you'd be on board, wouldn't you, Steve?"

Blaming anything to with the MSM on white people is obviously dishonest and bogus.

That doesn't mean blaming the MSM for something isn't bogus for other reasons.

keypusher said...

Hugh Grant's character in Nick Hornby's "About a Boy" makes his income from inheriting the rights to his father's Christmas song.

That's the antithesis of using the struggle for an inheritance as a plot device, though. _About a Boy_ is about someone who doesn't have to do anything (thanks to that song) finding a reason do something. Unusual and creative concept, but not very interesting in execution. _High Fidelity_, which is about someone with nothing fighting to find something, is a much better book. Of course, if it wasn't for his girlfriend's inexplicable attraction to losers (hello!), he wouldn't succeed.

Whiskey said...

Women and men over-value female beauty. Look at say, Molly Ringwald. She's reasonably attractive ... for a fit Mom in her forties. Would her face launch a thousand ships? Would it rate even a second glance?

Nor do women rate looks as highly as men do. They just don't -- things like dominance, willingness to fight, aggression, status, power and fame make up for a lot. Look at famous ladies man Russell Brand. Is he Brad Pitt or George Clooney? No. But in both hotness and quantity (Katy Perry was ultra-hot when she married him at age 24 or so) Brand has it going on. And he's nothing to look at.

This is the fundamental problem men have with women ... imagining they are guys without penises. They are not, I assure you. Looks DO matter in that Elephant Man ugliness precludes sex/affection, but not to say, self-evidently Russell Brand levels of looks. Or Charles Bronson, not exactly the most handsome man who ever lived.

Even the most nerdiest of guys has the alternative of Asian women, so generally richer nerdy guys do better than expected. You'd see a very obese Rebel Wilson type with a lower class, blue collar man without asshole dominance, charisma, or penchant for fighting. Generally the slender reedy non-aggressive guys with very massively obese wives or girlfriends. This tends to inflate women's and men's views alike of how the mating market actually works out for people.

Whiskey said...

As far as fat guys banging hot chicks, check out "the Tao of Steve," a women-written film starring Donal Logue, not exactly Mr. Svelte. It covers a fat PUA guy. Heck Logue himself dated ... Sofia Vergara. So certainly one hot chick found him ... datable.

Logues lantern jaw, that chin, and Celtic charm/aggression certainly helps (oddly enough while he's known for blue collar roles and owns a trucking company he went to some Ivy League school IIRC); as did Charles Bronson's obvious toughness, ditto Robert Mitchum and John Wayne, neither "pretty boys" and both able to portray toughness. [Wayne met Wyatt Earp shortly before Earp died and copied many of his mannerisms and speech patterns and behaviors as part of Wayne's screen persona.]

Toughness, charisma, charm, arrogance, etc. all can play off looks to a far greater degree for men than for women, who are prisoners of their bodies, genetics, and self-discipline to a greater range than men.

Harry Baldwin said...

I feel bad for Jewish women sometimes. Other than black women, can one think of a single category of female considered to be less sexy?

I don't even know where to begin with that one. You and I live in different worlds, evidently.

Simon in London said...

>>DR said...
I know a US couple like that. The reason is that's what the wife wants. For one thing, the guy who knows he got lucky treats her really well!

Statistically marriages where the husband is more attractive than the wife fail at higher rates. It probably is due to this effect. Women are sweet and caring regardless. But men are jerks unless they feel grateful.<<

Yup - the wife is beautiful & intelligent. As well as having a lower-tier husband, she also avoids work promotions that would mean more responsibility (though she is a nurse and still very well paid, much more than him last I heard).

The result seems to be a very good marriage with two happy children. By contrast her sister married a good-looking man and has had a lot of trouble with him cheating on her, walking out of jobs etc. Their children are very unhappy.

ALPHAMALEEPICPLEASUREMAX said...

With just this one trick you can...

Find out why so many dads of daughters HATE him!

Learn the secrets from the long lost pages from Casanova's book revealed to the public for the first time!

deconstructingleftism said...

Inheritance, usually resulting from adoption, was the almost the only way to significantly change your class and wealth in the ancient world, which made it a big theme in Roman satire and an important metaphor in the New Testament.

Anonymous said...

Stupid reporter got trolled. The source she contacted claimed that a mutual friend of theirs died in a "tragic squatting accident".

Also creatine isn't steroids, you dork.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you find Rose Byrne "generic"; I think she's gorgeous. Personally, I find six-foot blondes generic, but there's no accounting for taste.

Anonymous said...

Actually, John Wayne said he copied his "cowboy mannerisms" from the
superstar of stuntmen-

Yakima Canutt.

Corn said...

"Statistically marriages where the husband is more attractive than the wife fail at higher rates"

Someone ( I believe it may have been Kanazawa) said the most successful marriages are those where the wife is more attractive than the husband.... but only slightly. Can't have too big a gulf.

Anonymous said...

Women are sweet and caring regardless.


Good God! So DR is either a woman or a virgin.

roundeye said...

Rose Byrne looks like the third prettiest rich girl at Trinity College Prep in River Forest. Or at least back in the 80s before Fenwick went co-ed. One assumes Trinity now is lesbians and religious nutters.

Dave Pinsen said...

Byrne is quite striking. She's almost too pretty for most of her roles. It reminds me of what Sebastian Junger said about the casting of The Perfect Storm: He could see Mark Wahlberg as a fisherman, but it was hard to picture George Clooney doing anything other than working in front of a camera.

Anonymous said...

Creatine is an amino acid.

Found that on the interwoogie which shows that Selena Cain Miller was willingly trolled by herself.

Dave Pinsen said...

Because Hollywood screenwriters never date hot chicks in real life?

Mike said...

Rose Byrne is a mildly attractive woman, hardly a glamorous starlet. In NYC a guy who looks like Seth Rogen, is personable, nice, with decent social skills, and has a moderately successful career can easily land a girl who looks like her. It hardly needs a million dollar inheritance.

Are things really so bad in the rest of the country? Maybe I'm out of touch. Perhaps its time I travel.

Dennis Dale said...

I feel bad for Jewish women sometimes. Other than black women, can one think of a single category of female considered to be less sexy?

If, as Chris Rock said, you have to be pretty racist to now want to get out of work for MLK day, then you'd have to be pretty anti-Semitic to believe this.

Mike said...

I read through these comments and I bet most guys here are over 50 and have ceased interacting with women. They have NO idea what kinds of guys get hot girls.

Anonymous said...

Orson Welles said that W.C. Fields' genius onscreen wasn't a 10th of what it was onstage. I don't remember the exact quote. It's in MY LUNCHES WITH ORSON. Must reading for any cinephile. What a guy.

Professor of Mystery said...

I'll assume you are data mining but I'll bite.

I'm under 40 married with 1 daughter and 2 sons. I've got two mistresses one is 30 the other 26.

Life is fucking good arsehole.

Professor of Mystery said...

I thought she outshone Diane Kruger in Troy.

She played a good Briseas!

Anonymous said...

"Rose Byrne is a mildly attractive woman, hardly a glamorous starlet."

But she has a special quality. Unforgettable in WICKER PARK.

Jefferson said...

" feel bad for Jewish women sometimes. Other than black women, can one think of a single category of female considered to be less sexy?"

I saw plenty of attractive women when I was in Israel 2 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Someone should investigate what they're doing in Israel to produce women like Bar Paly.

Anonymous said...

"I feel bad for Jewish women sometimes. Other than black women, can one think of a single category of female considered to be less sexy?"

Yeah, I do to. I feel real bad for Scarlett Johanson, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Emanuelle Chriqui, Hedi Lamarr, Anouk Aimee, Melanie Laurent....I'm getting tired, look 'em up here:

http://www.imdb.com/list/Ke9ejXNKcYc/

And I'm sure they feel really bad for you, too, sad sack loser. Can't you even make up an interesting nick?

Anonymous said...

Someone should investigate what they're doing in Israel to produce women like Bar Paly.


They don't produce them, they import them from Russia.

It's just one of the many things Jews can do in their own country which they don't accept if done by other people in other countries. I'd like to grant US citizenship on the basis of hotness myself, but the SPLC would not approve.

Anonymous said...

Bar Paly is a Russian Jew and identifies as such. She is not a non-Jewish Russian immigrant.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for Jewish women sometimes. Other than black women, can one think of a single category of female considered to be less sexy?

Indian women?

Anonymous said...

Rodger's parents say they made their kid see therapists from a young age.

Bad idea I think.

It both stigmatizes and megalomania-izes the kid.

On the one hand, kid feels something is terribly wrong with him. Otoh, he thinks his problems are sooooooo important that they need ALL THE ATTENTION IN THE WORLD.

It leads to both self-loathing and self-aggrandizement.


Dave Pinsen said...

No question there are some beautiful Jewish actresses, but that list seems a bit expansive. I was surprised to see Olivia Newton-John on it, so I checked Wikipedia and learned she is the granddaughter of Max Born, whose father was half-Jewish. So she is 1/16th Jewish?

Anonymous said...

The most hilarious thing about Rodgers is his adjectology.

I mean lots of schlubs say, "I'm not such a bad-looking guy" or maybe "I'm a pretty cool-looking guy."

But Rodgers uses words like 'magnificent', 'amazing', 'beautiful' to describe himself as if he's a clone of Alain Delon or Pierce Brosnan.

Too bad he didn't have an identical twin. It might have been the first 'gay'-incest marriage.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms_(Norman_Rockwell)

Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear

We have a fifth now. Freedom from Sexual Rejection. Equal Fuc*ing Rights. Every boy and every girl deserve babe or stud.

Obama gave us Obamacare. Maybe Hillary can run on Hillaryhump.



Anonymous said...

Really, if we must allow tranny men to use women's washrooms--and even beat up women in the ring--, then it's only logical that every loser boy and every loser girl should get what they want too.

And besides, if love is so wonderful, it would be evil to reject their love!

Opposing hate isn't enough. We must oppose the rejection of love. So, if some guy walks up to a babe and says 'I love you', she must return the love. Not returning the love would be tantamount to hate.

Love Rejection Crime!!!

Just like illegals are now undocumented immigrants, every loser is a unrequited lover. And blame those who didn't return the love.
Boo hoo.

Anonymous said...

"I feel bad for Jewish women sometimes. Other than black women, can one think of a single category of female considered to be less sexy?"

Your ex-wives and your sisters.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Scarlet Johanson recently have a breast reduction, because she felt guilty about having more udders than others?
Or because she "no longer wanted to be a sex symbol"--which means her subsequent roles were accepted at gunpoint, right?

Anonymous said...

Paradoxically, he had a huge self-esteem problem because he didn't have one.

He was so full of self-esteem but then realized others didn't share in his esteemed view of himself. His excessive self-esteem couldn't handle the lack of agreement among others.

What we need to teach is self-estimation than self-esteem. Teach kids to accept reality and their place in it than look to celebs as 'role models'.

http://heidelberg26.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/337168-full.gif