Art & Entertaiment


Reviewed: Good Neighbours [2011]

Reviewed: Good Neighbours [2011]

N/A – 95mins – Comedy/Crime/Thriller – N/A

Good Neighbours follows three people who live in the same apartment building in Montreal over the course of Winter in 1995. Spencer (Scott Speedman) is a wheelchair bound introvert who spends all of his time in his flat on the first floor; Victor (Jay Baruchel) who has recently moved to the area since returning from China; and finally Louise (Emily Hampshire), a waitress at a local restaurant who spends most of her time either socialising with her pet cats (Tia Maria and Mozart) or reading up on the local serial killer who is running riot near to where they live.

Each of them is flawed in their own unique way so much so that I found myself asking the question why are any of them friends at all? Only the nervous Victor seems to be capable of something resembling social skills despite the uncanny ability to put his foot in everything time and time again and yet on several occasions they all sit down to dinner together when it’s extremely obvious that they would be somewhere else.

The film took such a long time to get going and was so slow paced to begin with that I began to lose interest rather quickly. And although it did begin to pick up just past the hour mark I was only kept partially intrigued to see how the characters were going to play out once they had each laid their cards on the table. The acting was average, nothing shockingly bad but nothing exceptional either, with Hampshire the best of the bunch in her portrayal of the disturbingly cat obsessed Louise.

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The most shocking moment in the film for me came after I finished watching it and realised that this was supposed to be part comedy albeit black humour. That small titbit of information only made itself obvious to me after I started to research it which gives you some indication of how funny I felt Good Neighbours to be. If that cryptic message was too much for you let me spell it out- it wasn’t funny… not in the slightest. Black comedies do tend to be more subjective than other comedies but I’m normally a fan quick to laugh at the disturbing and down right wrong. So (except for one line I’ve just remembered after some strenuous thinking) I had on my poker face.

Whoever made the trailer for this should be out of a job. Is a spoiler considered to be a spoiler if it’s included in the trailer? If you’re ever planning to watch this then I recommend giving the trailer a miss as it destroys what little intrigue there is supposed to be for one of the years most obvious and predictable plots. I’m usually quite good at seeing where a film is going but for Good Neighbours even if you’ve only got your head half screwed on I doubt the twists and turns will remain hidden from you for long.

I have the feeling that if you are able to get into this film near the beginning then there is a reasonable chance that enjoyment is there to be had but I found it so hard to do this that a potentially decent storyline has gone to waste and a sense of disappointment surrounded me once the film had finished. Not watching the trailer might also make for slightly better viewing. If you see it on the TV one day then maybe you should watch it.

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