Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

neighbors2_2016_poster
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
  • Time: 92 min
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Nicholas Stoller
  • Cast: Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen, Chloë Grace Moretz, Zac Efron

Storyline:

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are ready to make the final move into adulthood. But just as they thought they have reclaimed the neighborhood, they learn that their new neighbors are even more out of control than the last. To evict them, they will need help from their ex neighbor (Zac Efron).

3 reviews

  • If you’ve read most of my reviews, you’ll know that I set the bar very high for comedies. That’s why I pan most of them. Also, if you’ve read most of my write-ups you’ll know that I’m not a huge fan of sequels. Again that’s why I pan them too. With Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, I was hoping all of this would change. Fat chance on that. “Rising” is just not as funny as the original Neighbors. In fact, the only way you could find it funny is if you’ve never seen the first film, never viewed “Rising’s” red band trailer (which includes all the humorous scenes and other guffawed sequences that were left on the cutting room floor), or never took in a gross-out flick in your whole lifetime (I’d say that’s a pretty low demographic). What Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising does is make you feel nostalgic for the first Neighbors installment and that was only two years ago. What a pity.

    Now in “Rising’s” defense, it does bring back all of its likable cast members (Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, etc.). It also creates a decent segway from what transpired in 2014. Lastly, there are in jest, a couple of real laugh-out-loud moments. Bottom line though: Director Nicholas Stoller’s execution is not as thought-out this time around, the character development in “Rising” is a little weaker, the actors here are saddled with a thinner script and don’t really bring their A game (especially Ike Barinholtz as the goofy Jimmy), and the whole feel of the flick is less than over the top (despite some truly vulgar moments). Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising huh. “Neighbors 2: Sorority Dipping” is more like it.

    Filmed almost entirely in Atlanta, GA (of course), containing a cameo featuring Kelsey Grammer (really?), referencing 420 (a mainstay), and giving a ton of screen time to Zac Efron’s abs (was there ever any doubt it would happen?), Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising kinda picks up where the original left off (2-3 years later I’m thinking). The house that the Radner’s (played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) so vehemently wanted to keep is now up for sale. They want to move to the suburbs but need to wait thirty days because said house is being subjected to a 30-day escrow. Here’s the problem: A sorority headed by Kappa Nu leader Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), has moved in next door. They party hard and make a sh*t ton of noise. Plus, they are more boisterous and stubbornly than the dudes from the Delta Psi fraternity circa ’14. Regardless, what we have here is the same premise as the original only now it’s gender reversed. With the help of lost boy Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), the Radner’s are hellbent on getting rid of Kappa Nu. This way they can close the deal on their old home and move on to greener pastures (Byrne’s character is having another child so they need larger digs).

    In “Rising”, look for a scene where the young college girls throw their bloody tampons at Rogen’s character’s window (and even at his face, yuk). Also, look for sequences involving visible, fake testicles hanging out (double yuk), a baby’s hand sticking out of a women’s womb (triple yuk), and Rose Byrne’s Kelly vomiting towards her husband’s face (during sex, quadruple yuk). It’s all showy and gaudy but not totally funny and way too familiar.

    In conclusion, I saw 2014’s Neighbors twice at the theater. I still laughed three times as much the first time compared to viewing Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising just 4 hours ago. That’s all that needs to be said. Rating: A mixed two stars.

    Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

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  • Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) can’t seem to catch a break. Having vanquished the lunkheaded frat boys of Delta Psi Beta from the house next door, the youngish married couple find themselves newly engaged in mutually assured destruction with their new neighbours, the girls of Kappa Nu.

    Led by pot-smoking Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her friends Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein), Kappa Nu came into being after the girls discovered the longstanding edict that sororities aren’t allowed to throw their own parties. So where’s a sorority girl to go if they wanna have some fun? Fraternity parties where degradation, spiked booze, and unreliably consensual sex await. Mac and Kelly are all for the girls’ right to female empowerment, but not when the girls’ parties threaten the sale of their home. Having bought a new house outright and with a second baby on the way, the resignedly no longer hip-with-it couple need to ensure that nothing goes wrong while their current home is in escrow, essentially a 30-day period where the new owners can change their mind for whatever reason.

    Naturally a prank war ensues after the girls refuse Mac and Kelly’s request to mute their partying during the escrow period. The strongest bit finds Mac stepping out of his home to be confronted by scores of bikini-clad girls, who proceed to rip his clothes off as he makes his way to the safety of his car. Kelly storms out, spraying water on the girls with a garden hose, but her tactic backfires. “You’re only making them sexier!” yells a panicked Mac. With so many laugh out loud moments, Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising is the rare comedy sequel that may be funnier and more insightful than the original.

    Much of the comedy is rooted in truth, such as when Mac and Kelly deploy Shelby’s father (Kelsey Grammer) to talk sense into her. He rails into Shelby only to ultimately concede defeat but, as he sobs to the astonished couple, it was just so nice to see his baby girl again. A running gag involving the dildo their daughter Stella has embraced is a constant reminder to Mac and Kelly of their insecurities as parents which, in turn, complicates their feelings about their battle with Kappa Nu, whose essential message of sisterhood and strong women is one they want to foster for their daughter’s sake. Then there is the bitingly hysterical (and topical) scene featuring Jerrod Carmichael and Hannibal Buress as two black officers busting several fraternity houses.

    Perhaps the best example of the warmth and empathy the filmmakers have for their characters is Teddy (Zac Efron), Mac and Kelly’s former fratboy nemesis who is now lost in the generational limbo that unmoored Mac and Kelly in the first film. All his frat brothers have moved on in their personal and professional lives but Teddy is rudderless – not a boy, not yet a man – ill-equipped for the responsibilities of adulthood, and shocked to realise that he is now viewed as one of the old people by the new generation of partiers. Efron is the undisputed MVP of the film, mixing sweetness and stupidity to create a surprisingly tragicomic figure. Don’t worry, he still takes his shirt off but he proves himself more than just a pretty face with an enviable six-pack.

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  • (RATING: ☆☆☆ out of 5)

    THIS FILM IS MILDLY RECOMMENDED.

    IN BRIEF: A gross-out comedy that needed a better script to make the laughs consistently work.
     
    GRADE: C+

    SYNOPSIS: A turf war begins between a family and the sorority girls-next-door.

    JIM’S REVIEW: Once again, the generation gap widens to become a continental divide between a middle class family and a group of loud and raunchy college students in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, a diverting sequel that takes its former scenario and places it firmly into the hands of the female gender this time around. Apparently, girls just wanna have fun and can as sexually explicit and gross as the guys.

    This equal opportunity offender employs much of the same set-up as its 2014 film, but with less success. The gags have still no boundaries, incorporating dildos, air bags, and drug paraphernalia to new comic highs as a happily married couple, Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) take on a neighboring sorority, Kappa Nu, led by naughty Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her privileged harem of hedonistic warriors. Adding to the fun is Mac’s side-kick, Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) a perfectly-chiseled but fading Adonis who cannot come to terms with his post-graduate situation. Teddy remains in arrested development as his former frat brothers have moved on with their lives but he remains a boy-child in a man’s body…and what a body it is! Nevertheless, this clash of suburban titans escalates into an all-out war. Slapstick and pratfalls prevail with varying results.

    The screenplay-by-committee, written by five writers (Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien Evan Goldberg, the director Nicholas Stoller, and lead actor Seth Rogen) mines some comic possibilities but sacrifices its characters to inane sitcom humor. The script never really gel. The plot seems frenzied and choppy, in need of a few re-writes. Many of the jokes fall flat and cross that demarcation line of gross-out humor, relying too much upon bodily fluids, vomit, and drugs to serve as the punchlines. But some of the comedy is funny and hits the mark more often than not. The visual gags and a few wisecracks work due to the actors’ comic timing with their well-worn characters and their recognizable foibles.

    Mr. Efron and Mr. Rogen play off each other very well once again, although there is less screen time together here as adversaries. Ms. Moretz and her sisterhood gang (Kiersey Simmons and Beanie Feldstein) are the Radner’s latest opponents who provide the conflict, but, as written, they aren’t up to snuff and just not as much fun. Except for solid support by Ike Barinholtz and Carla Gallo, Ted’s fraternity family (Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Jerrod Carmichael) is mostly MIA in this installment and their presence is noticeable.

    The hostilities between the warring clans makes for purer (or should I say, impure) entertainment. But all of the scheming and one-upmanship in Neighbor 2: Sorority Rising feels strained and rambling, with an ending that seems all too unconvincing. Still, this Greek crass war between the two quarreling tribes is fitfully amusing but not in the same league as its more cleverer original source. Like many of the drunken partygoers at the Kappa Nu reveries, the film wears out its own welcome as well.

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