Neighbors (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

Neighbors (1981)

Neighbors (1981)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Neighbors Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

An uneven satire of life in the American suburbs, Neighbors chronicles the reaction of a conservative couple who find their normal lives ripped to shreds less than 24-hours after crazy new neighbors move in next door. This film contains the final appearance of comic actor John Belushi.more
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Larry Gelbart
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 23, 2014
Sony Pictures Entertainment


John Belushi
as Earl Keese
Kathryn Walker
as Enid Keese
Tim Kazurinsky
as Pa Greavy
Lauren Taylor
as Elaine Keese
P.J. Brown
as Police
Lauren-Marie Taylor
as Elaine Keese
Dale Two Eagle
as Thundersky
Bert Kittel
as Fireman
J.B. Friend
as Fireman
Edward S. Kotkin
as Additional Fireman
Lauren Taylor
as Elaine Keese
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Neighbors

Critic Reviews for Neighbors

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

It's very plastic satire, grounded not in real life or genuine observation but in easy, tired ideas of suburban life.

Full Review… | July 14, 2015

An entertaining examination of growing up vs. growing old and how neither is necessarily the right thing to do.

Full Review… | June 15, 2014
Cinema Sight

Audience Reviews for Neighbors


A boring comedy, it's not very funny, although there are some good actors in it. I don't recommend it.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

If the actor's weren't so typecast as "Jake and Elwood" or many other SNL skits, it'd be easier for most viewers to get into this well thought out and directed comedy. Clearly, the public was expecting another SNL skit, and what they got was a very dark and symbolic comedy about climbing out of an archetypical pit of quicksand that is sucking it's lead character Earl Keese down day by passing day. This is a film made for intelligent people, and sadly, it was too smart and twisted for it's own good.

By twisted, there are many ideas that run in the film that continue to perplex but also amaze once they're accepted as what the character decides to do. Consider the final sequence when Earl Keese is about to leave his family behind, everything he has worked for his life and start anew, and he looks at a beautiful family portrait. The twisted part is that he smashes the family portrait over his head and subsequently burns the house down. Why would he do this? Well, after the course of the film, he symbolically stares at a superficial picture of a perfect family, yet deep down, he sees his family for what it really is...dysfunctional and hopelessly beyond repair. In a theme that became "American Beauty", he stops taking it. He steps around the murky pit and goes on living, perhaps not in a moral way, but at least in a fulfilling way to his own happiness.

As for the neighbors themselves, we at first wonder why they are doing all these weird, awful things to Earl. Why, for instance, would Vic's wife accuse him of trying to "pork" her? Why would Vic be so imposing upon Earl and even trick him into thinking he's dying in a pit of quicksand? Why would they play all of these games on poor Earl? After several viewings, you get the idea that the neighbors already see Earl for the person he is, and are systematically trying to free him from what's sucking him down. Earl is intimidated, full of discontent, and doesn't know how to deal with the problems of daily life other than simply plopping down in front of the television set.

Many complain how "sad" it was for this to be John Belushi's last work. I beg to differ. I think it's great that his final film showed him to be a fine actor who embodied the role like no other. Sure Dan Aykroyd could've been Earl and Belushi could've been Vic(as originally planned), but it wouldn't have been anywhere near as interesting as seeing Belushi playing a role so grandly opposite the role of Bluto he played in "Animal House".

Despite some of the problems of the film, which include a look that feels like it's director John G. Avildsen was trying to hurry things up, a lack of inspired cinematography, and at times, humor too perplexing to be funny, "Neighbors" is a truly interesting comedy and a very good film. Yes, "Neighbors" is flawed in some areas, so much so that we wonder what it's makers were thinking, but we shouldn't let those little quirks discredit the honest attempt to do something different.

David Ladd

Super Reviewer


Strange flick from Aykroyd & Co. It's mostly silly, but not in a good way.

Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

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