In a milieu where hunky guys do superhero movies and Oscars are given to pretty women who break free of their typecast, Zac Efron is simply hot.
In Neighbors, the new comedy from Nicholas Stoller (The Five-Year Engagement, Get Him To the Greek), we see a tiny glimpse of something more from Zac Efron — an actor still riding his sex appeal while flexing some acting chops. But the purpose of his role in the comedy is to be cute and damn it, that’s what we need — an unapologetic male sex icon of our times.
His Neighbors character is a classic frat bro, complete with abs and bad manners. But then something changes in the film’s third act. The light changes. He’s sitting in a wheelchair, brandishing a baseball bat, plotting his next attempt to get back at Mac and Kelly (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne), the new couple that’s moved into the house next door. He looks dangerous — a kid who might really get in trouble someday.
The pranks get pulled. Neighbors unfolds much like we expect. We cling along for the punchlines between Rogen and Byrne (and for their refreshing, believable onscreen chemistry) and to see Efron from every angle, shirtless, beautiful.