Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Starring Seth Rogan, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ike Barinholtz, Kiersey Clemons, Dave Franco
“There is no “I” in sorority”, Zac Efron’s character Teddy Sanders proudly tells his former neighbors. The ripped, bronze character has gotten even dumber since we saw him last, as has the writing. The sequel to the inexpensive, but high grossing R rated film of 2014, has the vulgarity turned down, but the jokes are pretty much the same. The first film was young versus old, now it’s younger versus older. Nearly the entire cast returns for commentary on sexism, ageism, and friendship. Returning director Nicholas Stoller has trouble finding enough memorable material from the first one to play off here in the sequel. Raunchy comedies are a dime-a-dozen, so aside from the airbags, drugs, and Efron’s abs, there isn’t much from the original to build on.
For two years Mac (Rogan) and Kelly Radner (Byrne) have lived pretty peaceful since the fraternity next door moved out. Now expecting their second child, they have decided to put their outgrown house up for sale and move. Just as they nab a buyer and begin their 30 days of escrow, Shelby (Moretz) and her sorority sisters move in the neighboring house. Their former frat rival Teddy (Efron) is helping the young girls start their sorority, as further payback on the Radner’s for his criminal record. Shelby is determined to create a sorority where the girls call the party shots, not the men, which means lots of loud nights for the neighbors. It’s only when the young girls decide that even their good looking Teddy is too old to be in their group, that the former frat boy must switch sides.
A highly watered down version of the first, and only adds to 2016’s record breaking list of movies with a numeral beside the title.
Neighbors 2 pretends to focus on sexism, when what it really does is showcase a bunch of stereotypical 20-something-girls, who should prove insulting for the females watching. This is a comedy, nothing is to be taken seriously, which is why even using hot button issues is a waste of time. The “new” has certainly worn off, both for the content inside the film and for the audience. The script does make some major character changes with Franco’s character that seem to come out of nowhere. It’s actually the scenes with Efron/Franco and Rogan/Byrne, outside of the battle, that are the most interesting. Everything written around the Shelby character is insulting to the talent of Moretz; who at 18, has turned in better performances already that Efron who is 28.
Neighbors was one of the first films audiences interested in seeing Efron’s body could by a ticket and be rewarded. In 2016, every Efron film (Dirty Grandpa, We Are Your Friends) uses the star’s looks to sell tickets. One liner jokes about Cosby, Jews in the oven, nods to Byrne’s involvement in the Insidious franchise, are the extent of the memorial jokes in this one. There simply wasn’t enough iconic material in the first one to warrant a sequel. Sorority Rising is a highly watered down version of the first, and only adds to 2016’s record breaking list of movies with a numeral beside the title.
Desperate for laughs.