Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Nicholas Stoller, and the executives at Universal Pictures must think that everyone has to be a moron.
No other reason can explain why Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is even being released this weekend. Was there much more ground we needed to cover that wasn’t covered in the original Neighbors film in 2014? Did we need to catch up with Mac/Kelly Rudner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) as well as frat brothers Teddy/Pete (Zac Efron and Dave Franco)? Well, apparently the answer is yes, hence the sequel.
Neighbors 2 seems a tad more “R” rated that its predecessor. While the first film appears to do a better job of balance what’s funny with what’s over the line, in the sequel, they seem to go for any crude gag. The gags range from women throwing used tampons at their enemies, a woman throwing up during sex, a baby’s foot dangling from a pregnant woman, jokes about roofies and Bill Cosby, and an overweight woman shot through the windshield of the car.
While the original film seemed only to use jokes/gags that enhanced the storyline, Neighbors 2 does the exact opposite. The jokes in the first movie were funny while the ones in here reek of desperation.
As for the narrative in this sequel, it’s a rehashing of the previous film except for instead of Mac/Kelly Rudner going toe-to-toe with a fraternity it is a now a sorority lead by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz). Shelby is seeking to start her sorority because other sororities are not allowed to party like the frats are. Oh, the humanity!
The point where Neighbors 2 completely lost it was when they sought to weave in a feminist thread among the boozing and drug use that was occurring at the sorority. For starters, the message did not even remotely fit the dynamics of this regurgitated drivel. Secondly, if the goal is to discuss women’s empowerment, then why are all the women in the sorority moronic? If a message of empowerment is what the film was aiming for then why have the members of Kappa Nu’s sole focus be on exactly how to acquire the “Chronic”? Are we talking about equal rights here or equal bong hits? The girls in Kappa Nu are less than endearing, and that is putting mildly.
Zac Efron returns in this sequel and one can’t help but wonder if he just never left to begin with. Did he just hang around waiting for the moment Neighbors 2 start principle photography? He serves roughly the same purpose (man-child who does not seem to want to grow up). His character could have been eliminated from the entire film, and it would have had zero effect on the movie. At this point, he is eye candy and nothing more.
The only part that was even remotely enjoyable was watching the chemistry between Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne. They certainly pull off the overworked 30 something parents extremely well and maybe had the script not been mired with awful gags and rehashed material, this film could have been much more.