Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

'Neighbors 2' movie poster

Release: Friday, May 20, 2016

[Theater]

Written by: Nicholas Stoller; Andrew Jay Cohen; Brendan O’Brien; Evan Goldberg; Seth Rogen

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne have the worst luck when it comes to suburban living. Last time they were fighting tooth and nail to keep their sanity when a hard-partying fraternity, led by a half-naked Zac Efron, moved in next door. Now, they’re struggling to make sure their house gets sold to another couple when they see an even rowdier group of youngin’s moving in to the former frat house, only this time it’s a sorority established by the perennially annoying Chloë Grace Moretz.

In the annals of pointless comedies, Nicholas Stoller’s follow-up ranks pretty high up there. It’s a film ostensibly designed to tear down the infrastructure portrayed in almost every motion picture that doesn’t “get” what it means to be a part of Greek life. In fairness, the sisterhood has never seemed more legitimate than it does here — despite the fact Moretz’ spoiled brat Shelby has created this group out of her disillusionment during rush week for Phi Lambda. (Oh mah gawd, we can’t smoke weed? Lol, wut?) Stereotypes are not only broken down but trampled upon with the frenzied weight of a summertime bacchanalia.

That’s the only thing truly refreshing about Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising — an awareness that sororities do indeed get a bad rap in movies and for that matter, in the minds of anyone who never found themselves within a thousand feet of the nearest function. Meanwhile, somewhere in the background the Radners are trying to graduate to the next phase of responsible adulthood. But that’s less important than the half-baked rhetoric that college kids can be more mature than their beer-and-jizz-stained attire suggests.

Consider the first impressions Shelby and her friends, Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein), have when they enter a frat party one night: there’s a distinctly “rapey vibe” about the place. They’re so disgusted by what seems to be the accepted norm here and everywhere that they start up their own fledgling sisterhood, and wouldn’t you know it, their house is right next door to a couple of nagging thirtysomethings.

And here come the contradictions: Shelby and company are mature enough to recognize a sexist party when they see one, yet they have absolutely no respect for the community around them, especially when their immediate neighbors are scarcely more than a decade older than they are. Shelby’s a daddy’s girl but sees Mac as an anally retentive old man, and she can’t think of Kelly as anything other than a “mom.” Worse, the Radners are far from the most uptight parents you’ll come across. In fact part of the comedy stems from their recklessness (why they don’t separate the adult toys from their child’s playthings is a mystery to me).

It has to be this way, of course, otherwise Neighbors 2 would be a few mean-spirited pranks short of “a good time.” The story lifts the visual and slapstick gags from the previous outing and plops them down here with middling success. The exploding air bag is back as are the slow-motion dramatizations of people smacking into large, stationary objects. Some of it is actually pretty funny but more often than not this is a film that feels tired and uninspired. Bratty behavior dominates while the film’s attempt at thoughtful meditation on growing up feels like a cheap plastic label that a child could easily tear off.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 4.18.55 PM

Recommendation: Nicholas Stoller was funnier the first time he visited this material. There’s really not enough there to justify two Neighbors movies, but this is the day and age we live in, isn’t it? I think the only thing I can recommend this movie on is its willingness to subvert stereotypes here and there, even though these attempts are mostly undone by a series of contradictory actions and strands of character “development.” And why in the hell are there five writers credited here? 

Rated: R

Running Time: 92 mins.

Quoted: “I’m a human woman! I need to watch this!”

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Photo credits: http://www.impawards.comhttp://www.imdb.com

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13 thoughts on “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

  1. I’d heard this was better than the first one, a film I didn’t particularly care for to be honest. The sequel was inevitable I guess after the first one turned a profit. Looks like I’ll be checking something else out instead!

    • No way in hell this is a step up. No way. 🙂

      I think you’re money is definitely better off being placed on the last horse in a five-legged horse race.

  2. I respect the message, but didn’t pick up on the contradiction like you did. Nice.

    After a while, it felt more like “Hey, we’ve got a message that is positive so we’re gonna keep banging on it and making references to it and its “funny” cause its in a comedy SO LAUGH DAMMIT!” Got old quick, probably only laughed legitimately once thoughout but I can’t remember where.

    Check out Popstar, dude. Much funnier and relevant.

    • Yeah it was a lot of that too, it kept beating the message into the audience, until we were senseless. I don’t think preachy is the right word for it but man this was just kind of an obnoxious movie lol

      I’m looking forward to Popstar. I just saw you had a review up on it so I’ll be over soon. Uh oh. It’s Andy Samberg season 😉

    • In fairness, Seth Rogen has much less to do contribute to the awfulness here. It’s more the dumb, contradictory story and lack of creativity all around. I mean, I didn’t think this would be good but some early positive buzz actually got me more interested in it but dammit i should have stuck to my gut feeling.

  3. I haven’t even been able to see the first one. It looks people’s perception about “young” and “old” is as wrong as Hollywood could possibly make it!

    • Yeah, this is a pretty pukey production. There are worse and this is definitely no Dirty Grandpa (shudder) but man, puke on this. 😀

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