Longtime readers of Geeky Hobbies probably know that I rarely give out negative reviews, and even rarer do I give up on a film and start doing something else while I wait for it to finish up. Part of this is due to the wide variety of interests and genres that I enjoy but I also go into every movie hoping (and even expecting) to like it. I’m a very positive person and even if I don’t enjoy a title myself, if I think there is an audience out there for it I will make sure to note it. Unfortunately, Neighbors (1981) is one of the rare titles that I will be giving a very negative review of. Even as a viewer who loves odd and oftentimes random humor, there just wasn’t much of anything to laugh at in this film. Neighbors is flat out a bad comedy starring two very talented comedians (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) that I don’t think I can recommend for anyone who hasn’t seen it before. If you already know you love it though, this Mill Creek Blu-ray release is a pretty good value with decent video quality to boot.
The plot of Neighbors is pretty standard comedy fare. John Belushi (in his final film) plays the straight man as Earl Keese, a man who lives a comfortable but boring life in the suburbs with his wife Enid. One night, a younger (and very peculiar) couple moves into the rundown house next door. Earl’s life is quickly thrown into chaos by the crazy and obnoxious Vic (Dan Aykroyd) and the seductive Ramona (Cathy Moriarty). It quickly becomes clear that these two are the classic neighbors from hell. Will Earl and his sanity survive these two?
The biggest problem with Neighbors is that it just isn’t funny. I think there were a grand total of two scenes that got a slight laugh out of me, the short billiards sequence and then the phone scene afterwards. There are actually more obnoxiously unfunny scenes than funny ones (like the horrible coffee segment for example). Of course comedy is subjective but I almost always get a decent amount of laughs out of almost any comedy I watch, regardless of how good they are. I like nearly every sub-genre of comedy but Neighbors only managed a few chuckles from me. The script completely wastes the talents of Belushi and Aykroyd, who try their best to redeem the terrible material they are given. Making it even worse, this was Belushi’s last film meaning he went out with a whimper with what is probably his worst film.
Comedies don’t really have to make sense but there is no way a person would continue to interact with a man like Vic. If he was my neighbor, I would have gone radio silent with him after the first two stunts he pulled in this movie. It makes no sense why Earl continues to interact with this guy. At least give us some sort of reason they keep socializing with each other. Even worse, the events of the movie happen in just one night and the next morning. How is Earl so desperate for human interaction that he is willing to keep talking with a crazy person, who even threatens him a few times? All in all, Neighbors is definitely not for me, and I am really struggling to find any audience I would recommend it for.
Please note that my grievances with Neighbors have nothing to do with this release and are only with the content of the film. If you are a viewer who already loves the film and are looking for recommendations on whether or not it is worth it to upgrade to Blu-ray, I would say go ahead and do it. The video quality is actually very solid for a film approaching its 40th anniversary in a few years. Considering Neighbors is an older comedy and a lesser known one at that, it looks better than it really needs to. Don’t expect perfection but if your expectations are reasonable, you will be at least satisfied if not impressed by the video quality. The price is also right, as you can purchase it on Amazon for less than $10 at press time.
Neighbors isn’t the only Blu-ray with retro VHS artwork Mill Creek Entertainment has released in the last two months. I already covered the first wave of releases back in January but four new wave two titles were either released recently or are coming out soon. The Legend of Billie Jean (a pretty fun ’80s action film in my opinion) was released on February 19. Two more titles are releasing next week, the Willie Nelson-starrer Songwriter and cult film Sheena. Unlike the first batch of releases in this line, outside of The Legend of Billie Jean all of these films are new to Blu-ray meaning there are more reasons to pick them up outside of the cool retro slipcover.
While I am not a fan of Neighbors and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone interested in watching it for the first time, if you already know you like or love the film this is the first time the movie is being released on Blu-ray. The video quality is quite good for an almost forty-year-old film or at least better than it really needs to be. Comedies are one of the genres that are least essential to watch on Blu-ray but if you really love the film, this Mill Creek Entertainment release is probably worth picking up. If you haven’t watched the film though, I think you should look elsewhere as there are plenty of similar movies that are much funnier to watch. The film itself only warrants a 1/5 from me but the Blu-ray release (at least for those who love the movie) is good enough for a 3/5.
Neighbors was released on Blu-ray on March 12, 2019.
Songwriter and Sheena retro VHS cover art Blu-rays will be released on March 26, 2019.
The Legend of Billie Jean was released on Blu-ray on February 19, 2019.
Buy Mill Creek Entertainment Retro VHS Cover Art Blu-rays on Amazon: Neighbors, Songwriter, Sheena, The Legend of Billie Jean
We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of Neighbors used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.