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JOHN BELUSHI & DAN AYKROYD SIGNING OFF WITH 'NEIGHBORS'

Title: NEIGHBORS Year: 1981 Rating: **1/2
John Belushi's last film is unique, to say the very least. And the least, plot-wise, is what NEIGHBORS is all about: Against type he plays an uptight suburban husband with a bland wife in a big bland house at the end of a rural col de sac... also bland...

Until wacky Dan Aykroyd and Cathy Moriarty move in next door, making his existence, through the course of one night, a tedious yet, in its own way, strangely addicting experience... An everything-goes-wrong kinda thing — only there's too much bizarre intrusion to make the ordinary domestic setting seem real in the first place. And under the otherwise capable direction of John G. Avildsen (who made edgy, smaller films like JOE and SAVE THE TIGER before his Oscar winning ROCKY), composer Bill Conti's horrendous, cartoon-like score (replacing Tom Scott at the last minute) adds insult to injury: traipsing along with the antics... while sometimes even spoiling them...

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd NEIGHBORS
So there are very few surprises; which includes variations of particular theme songs, like for instance, THE TWILIGHT ZONE (both are weird, get it?) and especially No Place Like Home, and yet, despite the many flaws, it's still very intoxicating, somehow.

But while considered a disaster on the Belushi/Aykroyd curve of THE BLUES BROTHERS and their Saturday Night Live greatness, NEIGHBORS actually does more damage to the excellent page-turning novel by Thomas Berger. The weirdness is secondary to the characters and not the other way around, which gets tedious, quick. Then again, it's a really tough book to adapt. Maybe, in this age of binging streaming vehicles, someone can do this justice. And it wouldn't necessarily be a remake.
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