Tom Cruise is a movie star for a reason. With his square jaw, dazzling smile and effortless physicality, he’s the man we feel comfortable entrusting with sci-fi action because he has a near-perfect combination of humanity and inhumanity. But he can be boring. Last year’s Oblivion tried to compensate for Cruise’s inherent and often beneficial blankness by literally multiplying the number of Cruises onscreen. Edge of Tomorrow takes a different and far more successful approach: Cruise’s blankness becomes the joke, and the narrative “Edge of Tomorrow”: See It Todayengine, and the emotional hook. Hidden beneath his muscular exterior is the man we all fear we’d be.
Neighbors, in which a married couple with a newborn child squares off against the rowdy band of fraternity brothers next door, might seem disingenuous in the wake of recent sexual assault scandals in the world of Greek life. But director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien assuage those concerns with a big-budget studio comedy that’s just a tad smarter than you’d expect, and considerably funnier.
The majority of the movie takes place on a single suburban street, in and around two adjacent homes. In one, Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) grapple with the trials and tribulations of raising a daughter, maintaining their relationship and staying sane. In the other, Delta Psi president Teddy (Efron) and his brothers aspire to earn a place on the fraternity’s coveted wall of history-making party antics. Naturally, these two goals can’t easily co-exist. Mac and Kelly initially, and haphazardly, attempt to win over the bros with their rusty youthful charm, but things turn sour once the couple realizes their baby is more important than some ‘shrooms and a carefully orchestrated “swordfight.”
Remember when I used to post daily on this blog? It’s been a while. I’ve been consumed by schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and all sorts of other pursuits that you likely don’t care about. As a result, I’ve failed to do more than re-post the latest episodes of The M&M Report, and sometimes even those went up late.
But summer has arrived, and with it, some pretense of this thing called “free time.” I’ll spend some small part of that free time doing apparently important tasks like “eating,” “sleeping,” “spending time with other human beings” and, if I’m feeling particularly daring, “venturing into the outside world.”
But those tasks are far less interesting than the pop culture consumption I’ve got planned for the months ahead.