2 out of 5 stars (Some good moments, but is overall bad)
In the summer of 2014, the Seth Rogen comedy Neighbors hit the screens and became an unexpected blockbuster. The film was about a pair of new parents (Rogen and the foxy Rose Byrne) having to deal with the hi jinks of a wild fraternity lead by Zac Efron. The film combined stupidity with mild pathos about growing up and accepting your place in life, while also possessing a plethora of raunchy gags and jabs at “old people” (a highlight involving a party poster near the end). While not a classic, the movie was stupid raunchy fun that is decently memorable thanks to its fun script and enjoyable performances, if you like raunchy comedies.
The same cannot be said for its follow-up (subtitled “Sorority Rising”). Once again, Rogen and Byrne must deal with college kids messing up the house next door, but with a ton of estrogen thrown into the mix and an attempted feminist angle that could have succeeded with some script edits. For people seeking a simple raunchfest, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising will be a fountain of youth. Unfortunately, for those who know Rogen can insert deeper material into his comedies (or those who don’t want to hear the “F” word every 2 minutes), the film will be a huge letdown.
The film again follows Mac and Kelly Radnor, this time as they are looking to move out of their house with 3-year-old Stella and another baby on the way. With the house chosen and money paid, they only thing standing in their way is a 30-day escrow period in which they have to keep the house clean for buyer inspection.
Unfortunately, that is precisely when an irrepressible college girl named Shelby (a decently enjoyable Chloe Grace Moretz) decides to use the house next door as a place to get her party on, as sororities are not allowed to do so at their own houses. Frantic, the Radnors enlist the help of ex-enemy Teddy (A frequently shirtless Zac Efron) to get the girls out fast.
While the original Neighbors was not Rogen’s finest hour, it still provided enough laughs for me to forgive its shortcomings. In this installment, the leads act like the very people they want to get rid of, leaving us with an overabundance of hit-and-miss raunchy jokes, some of which work (like a scene in which the girls text to make a decision), and others don’t (The Radnors call Shelby’s father for help at one point, and he wusses out immediately). That being said, one sequence at a tailgate party had me laughing hysterically, as it had the spirit and tone of the original film. Sadly, this level of buffoonery was never reached again, leaving me bored for the rest of the proceedings.
The leads’ chemistry is good, but not nearly as fun to watch this time. As well, they aren’t given very much to do, leading to many scenes of time-stretching improvisation. Moretz is clearly enjoying her role, but the character is not as enjoyable as Teddy was. I completely understand Shelby’s motives (that she just wants to party without being groped), but the character isn’t interesting beyond that.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising will satisfy those looking to completely turn their brain off and hear raunchy gags, but people who want some intelligence (or wit) with their humor, they should search by the multiplex down the road.
Rated R for Crude Sexual Content, Brief Graphic Nudity, Language Throughout, Drug Use, and Teen Partying (which is strange, as I thought they were all College girls)