Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Neighbors is Certified Fresh

Plus, Mom's Night Out is dull, and Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return is duller.

by | May 9, 2014 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a battle between bros and parents (Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron), another trek down the yellow brick road (Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, with voice performances by Lea Michele and Dan Aykroyd), and a wild night on the town (Moms’ Night Out, starring Sarah Drew and Patricia Heaton). What do the critics have to say?



Most frat comedies seem content to rip off Animal House, but occasionally a movie comes along that shows the keg isn’t completely tapped. The critics say Neighbors can get pretty gross at times, but it’s well-acted and often surprisingly insightful about the anxieties of growing older. Mac (Seth Rogan) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are a married couple with an infant child who think they’ve found the perfect home — that is, until a fraternity moves next door. Soon, our heroes are locked in battle with Teddy (Zac Efron), the frat’s president; hilarity ensues. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Neighbors has no shortage of lowbrow laughs, but the performers — particularly Byrne — make the characters relatable, and the result is both highly amusing and smarter than average. (Check out our video interview with the stars, as well as our gallery of the worst movie neighbors.)

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return


The Wizard of Oz is just as dazzling today as it was 75 years ago, and the reasons why are clear: it looks terrific, it features great songs, and (most importantly) it’s got a great story. Critics say the inverse is true of the new animated film Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return — with its dated visuals, so-so tunes, and meandering plot, this trip over the rainbow is unlikely to become a perennial family favorite. Shortly after returning to Kansas, Dorothy (voiced by Lea Michele) is whisked back to Oz to help pals old (Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man) and new (Wiser the Owl, Marshal Mallow, and China Princess) rescue Glinda the Good Witch from the evil Jester. The pundits say Legends of Oz is a less-than-magical affair that feels more suited to the cutout bin than the multiplex.

Moms’ Night Out


This Mother’s Day, we hold these truths to be self-evident: that the hardworking moms of the world deserve some free time, and that moviegoers could use more female-centric comedies. So it’s unfortunate to report that critics find Moms’ Night Out to be predictable, uninspired, and seriously short on laughs. Stay-at-home mom Allyson (Sarah Drew) really needs to unwind, so she plans a night out with her BFFs. Naturally, everything goes haywire immediately, as the ladies get into trouble on the town while their husbands mostly fail to hold things together at home. The pundits say Moms’ Night Out earns a stray chuckle here and there, but it mostly feels more like a sitcom than a movie. (Check out star Patricia Heaton’s Five Favorite Films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

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