Stepping out of Neighbors into the cold, calm, dick-joke-free real world, you might find yourself hit with a barrage of "But wait..." moments: "Why did they move into a new frat house just a month or two before the end of college?" "When was it established that she wanted to sleep with him?" "Where did that pledge come from?" "Who was that other guy?" "If he, then why?" "When did?" "How?" "What?" "Huh?!" Yeah, there are enough logical holes in Nicholas Stoller's comedy to warrant an "Everything Wrong with Neighbors" gag trailer and a dozen or two angry message threads. But the tenability of a movie's realism isn't exactly on trial when it sells itself as the Seth Rogen comedy in which a baby eats a condom.
Neighbors eagerly liberates itself not only from the laws of basic reality or tight storytelling, but also from the rigid shackles of any one comic tone. We jump from a slice of life about new parents Mac and Kelly (Rogen and Rose Byrne) who aren't quite ready to say goodbye to their youth instantly to a wild and wacky college farce about the fraternity one house over (led by Zac Efron and second banana Dave Franco), borrowing a lexicon from latter day National Lampoon. As the war picks up between these congenial neighbors-turned-close-quarters enemies, we're invited into a back and forth of vicious, albeit loony, aggression, each maneuver to "get those fogeys/punks next door" escalating in hostility, danger, and independence from earthbound possibility. As we're treated to this ceaseless exercise in human malignance, Neighbors peppers in episodes of cartoon-grade zaniness, macabre pathos, and absolute surrealism. And although it might not seem like all of these comic identities can exist in the same film, Neighbors has a special trick up its sleeve to make it all work: it's funny. Never brilliant, and rarely all that fresh, but always funny.
The frat stuff plays broad, often saddling Efron's sadomasochistic pseudo-villain, Franco's vulnerable prick, and the pair's gang of goons — a wily Christopher Mintz-Plasse and an effortlessly charming Jerrod Carmichael at the top of the heap — with the usual party flick shenanigans like dance-offs and flaming barrels of marijuana. The team of youngsters is at its best, though, when the standard routine is shirked for more peculiar fare, like an abstract non sequitur that has Franco demonstrating a bizarre biological skill, or a fractured history of drinking games as narrated through flashbacks by a passionate Efron.
A good deal of fun can be pinned on the usual assortment of physical gags, pop culture references (one extended bit plays on the film histories of Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, and Al Pacino to endearing results), and the goofball antics of supporting players like Ike Barinholtz (as Mac's zealous, dimwitted pal). But Neighbors' secret weapon is Byrne, outshining the established comedic reputations of her co-stars with her performance as Kelly. Catapulted miles from the doldrums of straight-man-hood, Byrne tops even Rogen in awkward panache (watching her struggling to interact with the younger breed early on in the movie is delightful) and diabolical villainy alike — the very biggest laughs come from Byrne unleashing her furies or executing evil schemes. If Neighbors inspires any lasting impression, it should be a new appreciation for Byrne's chops in the humor department.
Somehow, this farcical grab bag never feels lethally convoluted or overstuffed. While the film's pacing does no great favors — we jump right into the principal conflict, which is a tough beat to sustain for so long — and a few abject narrative leaps keep the story from feeling tidy, these problems feel like a second priority. Even if some of the jokes feel strained or rehashed, if the characters are malleable, if the conceit is overcooked, or if there are too many plot holes to count... we're laughing. So it's working.
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True love: something that for a long time seemed only reserved for fairytales — until ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette series came around. Finally! Regular people (who are very attractive and vetted through a long and involved casting process) could find fairytale love! Love that was real and true, just like in the movies!
...at least, that's what we all hoped. But, it turns out, televised matchmaking doesn't work out so well. The Bachelor/Bachelorette couples who remain happy in love are in the minority (to say the least), and the recent breakups of Jef Holm and Emily Maynard as well as Ben Flainjk and Courtney Robertson are just icing on the cake. Who would've thought, right? How is it possible that hand-picked attractive people from around the country going on extravagant dates can't find true love over the course of six weeks? It's shocking, really.
Don't believe us? Check out the numbers and über-fancy statistics, below.
The Bachelor Relationship Rundown
Bachelor Season 1:
Alex Michel and Amanda Marsh — Broke up after 10 months. The beginning of the reinvention of love.
Bachelor Season 2:
Aaron Buerge and Helene Eksterowicz -— Broke up 5 weeks after the finale. Woops.
Bachelor Season 3:
Andrew Firestone and Jen Schefft — Broke up 7 months after the finale. No spare tires for this relationship!
Bachelor Season 4:
Bob Guiney and Estella Gardinier — Broke up 1 month after the finale. What about Bob, indeed!
Bachelor Season 5:
Jesse Palmer and Jessica Bowlin — Broke up 1 month after the finale. It's hard to make a relationship work when your names are THAT similar.
Bachelor Season 6:
Byron Velvick and Mary Delgado — Broke up after 5 years. They became engaged in November 2004 and, while they did endure some domestic squabbles, they didn't officially end their relationship until December 2009.
Bachelor Season 7:
Charlie O'Connell and Sarah Brice — Broke up after two attempts at making it work: May 2005 - September 2007 (28 months), then again November 2008 - April 2010 (19 months). Total: 47 months together; certainly nothing to balk at!
Bachelor Season 8:
Travis Stork and Sarah Stone — Broke up after 1 month, probably because of all the stork jokes.
Bachelor Season 9:
Lorenzo Borghese and Jennifer Wilson — Broke up after 2 months, which makes zero sense because this guy was A REAL-LIFE PRINCE so, like, Happily Ever After was guaranteed, I thought! Isn't that in the Ye Olde Royal Contract?
Bachelor Season 10:
Andy Baldwin and Tessa Horst — Broke up after 4 months. Guess he wasn't a total Baldwin.
Bachelor Season 11:
Brad Womack chose NO ONE because he hates everyone.
Bachelor Season 12:
Matt Grant and Shayne Lamas — Broke up after 2 months. Lorenzo Lamas reportedly weeped for years.
Bachelor Season 13:
Jason Mesnick and Melissa Rycroft — Broke up at the reunion.
Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney — Got together at the reunion (yikes!) and married in February 2010. They're still together and expecting a baby! Mazel!
Bachelor Season 14:
Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi — Broke up after 3 months, and were totally casual and not-at-all mean about it (haha just kidding it was the ugliest break-up on TV maybe ever)!
Bachelor Season 15:
Brad Womack and Emily Maynard — Released an official "we broke up" statement after 3 months (though reports say it ended much earlier).
Bachelor Season 16:
Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson — Broke up after 7 months, when Ben realized that the entire planet really didn't like his decision-making skills..
And the Bachelorettes — How Did the Ladies Fare?
Bachelorette Season 1:
Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter — Married for 8 years and counting! With kids! What a bunch of weirdos.
Bachelorette Season 2:
Meredith Phillips and Ian McKee — Broke up after 1 year. Does anyone remember this season?
Bachelorette Season 3:
Jen Schefft and Jerry Ferris — Broke up 3 weeks after he proposed. Woops!
Bachelorette Season 4:
DeAnna Pappas and Jesse Csincsak — Broke up after 4 months, probably because Jesse's last name was really hard to spell.
Bachelorette Season 5:
Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski — Broke up after 1 year, probably because she was Canadian.
Bachelorette Season 6:
Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez — Broke up after 15 months. And, somehow, Roberto did not become the next Bachelor (sorry, Sean Lowe, sure you'll be great).
Bachelorette Season 7:
Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum — Engaged with plans to marry (on live TV! The way it was meant to be done, obviously) in December of this year after 14 months. Hooray for them!
Bachelorette Season 8:
Emily Maynard and Jef Holm — Broke up after 5 months and lots of marionette fights.
Failed relationships: not just for the normals anymore! So what have we learned from all of this? Well, namely it seems like Brad Womack has a terrible track record but loves television. And so does his second-go-around winner/ex-fiancée, Emily Maynard. (Maybe those two crazy kids were meant for each other after all!)
After compiling the numbers and doing a little bit of Bill Clinton's favorite thing (no, not ladies — dirty minds, all of you!), arithmetic, we have put together this handy guide for understanding love, Bachelorstyle.
Here Are Some Fancy Math Facts:
Mean Length of Relationships:13.6 months
Median Length of Relationships:4 months
Mode Length of Relationships:1 month
Analysis:So while the marriages and successes may have thrown us off a bit (13.6 months: what are these people, monogamists?), it generally seems to be that 4 is every bachelor and bachelorette's lucky number. Unless they're one of the five couples who only like quickie, one-month-long relationships.
It seems that the one thing we cantake away from this is that we, as a nation, need to completely rethink our definition of "true love." Obviously, these very attractive and well-groomed pseudo-celebrities know what true love is: they were on a TV show and are good-looking! Duh! So, maybe we should reevaluate what true love really means. If all of these love experts have relationships with an average shelf-life of 1 - 4 months, maybe that's how long true love really lasts! Maybe we've been fooled all of this time by the movies, the Disney princesses, the happily ever afters. Maybe true love can only last a brief period of time (I mean, forever is like, so many years).
[Photo Credit: ABC]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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Another one bites the dust. Just 12 days after Bachelor star Ben Flajnik and his fiancee Courtney Robertson called it quits, another Bachelor(ette) couple has called off their engagement. Bachelorette Emily Maynard and her fiance Jef Holm are no longer an item. "I am sorry to tell you that Jef and I have, indeed, parted ways," she tells People. "It was a very difficult and heartbreaking decision."
Despite Holm's dreamy proposal at the end of The Bachelorette Season 8 that aired in July, it just wasn't meant to be for this couple. "As you know, at first I wasn't sure that I should even be The Bachelorette, but I am a hopeless romantic and I do believe in the show," Maynard says. "I have no regrets because I did find love and shared an incredible journey with a really special person — and you know what, we tried our best because the love between us was so real."
"I have nothing but respect and love for Jef and his family, but ultimately we are just at different points in our lives," Maynard continues. "I've learned so much and I'm grateful for all of the support I've received. I'm excited and hopeful for the next chapter in my life with my daughter, Ricki. I do hope that you will respect our privacy and allow us the time we need to heal."
So how does Holm feel about the breakup? "Meeting Emily on The Bachelorette was an incredible experience, we've had quite the journey," he says." I've never loved someone so much in my whole life, Emily is the best person and mom I have ever met. She opened up her world to me and I fell in love with her, [her daughter] Ricki, her family and the Hendricks."
Holm also believes that The Bachelorette truly did help him find love. "She has a great group of people who surround her," he says. "What we shared was completely genuine and real and it breaks my heart but we have decided to break up."
"Emily will always have a special place in my heart," Holm adds. "I don't regret a single second I spent with her or Ricki. They both have been a huge part of my life. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but we are moving on to the next chapter of our lives. Emily and I are great friends and I hope we can continue to be friends forever. Everyone wants a salacious story to break, but the truth is we are just two people who fell in love and tried our hardest to make it work. I will always love her."
For weeks now, rumors have been circling that this breakup was bound to happen, and that Maynard had allegedly cheated on Holm. While neither Maynard nor Holm have confirmed the cheating rumors, their official statements do add their relationship to the long list of failed Bachelor/Bachelorette romances. Out of 24 seasons of The Bachelor franchise, only two couples have made it down the aisle: Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter and Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney (she was actually his runner-up — he initially left the show engaged to Melissa Rycroft, but dumped her during a special to get back together with Malaney). Plus, this isn't Maynard's first failed Bachelor engagement either. She was briefly engaged to Brad Womack at the end of Bachelor Season 15 before that relationship ended and she got her own show.
So which couples do we have left? Bachelorette Ashley Hebert is still with her fiance J.P. Rosenbaum — but given the franchise's record, will they actually ever make it down the aisle, or is history doomed to repeat itself?
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: INFPhoto]
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If you found yourself in the checkout line of a grocery/convenience/drug store this week and took a casual glance at the tabloid headlines, then you are well aware that things may be a little shaky for former Bachelorette Emily Maynard and her fiancé Jef Holm. Or maybe not. Who can say, really?
In case you're not in the Fresh Direct cult, the basic dealio is that Emily has allegedly been sexting an unidentified man-floozy. Emily denies it, Jef denies it, story over. But ho! There's more! In a made-for-daytime-TV twist, Jef tells People that it was his very own brother who leaked the totally not true (they all swear on little Ricki's life) story to the press. It's a vicious tale of lies and deceit that pits brother against brother in the quest for true love — which makes it perfect headline fodder.
Emily and Jef's visages may be splayed all over the glossy covers, but why, exactly, are their domestic issues newsworthy? Well, because the tabloids say so. Think about it. If Emily and Jef and Whoever from such and such season of The Bachelor weren't in the headlines, would you even give their relationships a second thought? Probably not. Because, after the final rose has been handed out, these so-called "celebrities" go from being television stars to just regular people. Gone are the cameras, the fantasy dates, the never-ending supply of free alcohol, and you're left with regular people, doing regular things, trying to make a regular relationship work.
And you know what? Regular couples sometimes break up. What!? Shocker, I know, but hear me out. Sometimes, kids, relationships don't work out, and people go their separate ways. And let's not forget that an entire season of The Bachelor is filmed in approximately six weeks. Which means these "I've never been this in love before" couples have been dating for less than two months. The number of relationships that have ended after six weeks can't even be quantified because most of the adult population doesn't even consider that a relationship. A fling, maybe. A dalliance, a "situation." But rarely a relationship. Call me when you actually get married, Emily and Jef, because that'll be newsworthy.
In Bachelorland, marriage is like the carrot on the end of the stick: always dangling in front of you, completely unattainable and, when you stop and think about it, not actually that appetizing. Only once has the Bachelor or Bachelorette actually married the person they handed that final rose to. Trista Réhn and Ryan Sutter remain the only couple to make it from the season's last episode to the altar. (Jason Mesnick and Molly Melaney are now happily married, but Mesnick picked Melissa Rycroft, not Melaney, in his season's finale.)
So, here's a proposal (the kind that doesn't come with a ring): How about we stop talking about the Bachelor couples' relationship rollercoasters, let them live their lives a little, and turn our attention to actual news? Let's focus on important things, like Amanda Bynes' latest car crash and Kim Kardashian's newest Twitter photo.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC]
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