NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING:
AN UNNECESSARY SEQUEL THAT MANAGES TO DELIVER RAUNCHY LAUGHS AND A LOT OF HEART!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
It’s Parenthood VS Sisterhood in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
More hijinks and hilarity are brewing right next door as Seth Rogen (Superbad, Pineapple Express, This is the End), Rose Byrne (Damages, X-Men: First Class, Spy), and Zac Efron (High School Musical trilogy, Hairspray, 17 Again) return in the sequel to the 2014 comedy hit, Neighbors. Yeah Seth Rogen had terrible neighbors and killed the leader of North Korea both in the same year, but I digress.
Going back to the first Neighbors, when I saw it in theaters back in 2014 I was very surprised that the film was a complete Raunch-Fest BUT it managed to balance it out with sweet and touching moments, normally when I see an R-rated comedy I usually expect the gross-out humor, drugs, hijinks, and nudity to take control of the film, but no it can make you feel for the characters, whether it’s the family trying to stop their neighbors’ wild parties or even the Fraternity living next door, don’t get me wrong Superbad and The Hangover have their moments of heart but come on the raunchy humor takes over with those films.
So due to the positive reviews at the time and being a box office hit, we now have Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, a very similar concept as the first film. Only this time they’re tackling the sexy predators known as sorority girls.
My expectations were all over the place judging by the trailer because to me it just felt like another typical rehash of what we already saw in its predecessor but just change it up a bit. And parts of it are like that, not going to lie, but the film does manage to bring in some new gags, characters, and really wacky situations, and even when you think it’s going to be a repeat of the first film, it throws a curveball your way and gives you something different.
The film follows Mac (Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Byrne) expecting a second daughter and preparing to sell their old house (You know, the one that was next door to Delta Psi), unfortunately their house is subjected to a 30-day escrow, but that’s only the least of their problems. In comes the new neighbors, a group of sorority girls led by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz-Kick-Ass, Hugo, Carrie) who is sick to death of people always telling her what to do and all she really wants is to live wild and smoke weed (Her heart’s in the right place).
Apparently after realizing that sorority girls cannot throw wild parties and only Frat boys can, Shelby takes matters into her own hands and starts her own wild partying sorority to stick it to the sexist bastards that made that statement. Obviously this gets in the way of Mac and Kelly trying to sell their house because if the house is next door to a crazy sorority they won’t be able to move, so they call an old friend.
In comes former Delta Psi leader, Teddy (Efron) who agrees to help Mac and Kelly stop the sorority in an intense but also sexy war involving wits, plans, action, airbags, clowns (No joke!), and of course weed. What was once a duel between parents and Fraternities have now transformed into an all-out battle between old people and sororities.
The film also stars Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place, Hotel Transylvania, Spring Breakers) as a sorority president, Lisa Kudrow (Analyze This, Easy A, The Other Woman) as Dean Carol Gladstone, Ike Barinholtz (Sisters, The Angry Birds Movie) as Mac’s colleague and best friend, Jimmy, Carla Gallo (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Mission: Impossible III, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) as Jimmy’s wife, Paula, Dave Franco (21 Jump Street, Warm Bodies, Now You See Me) as Teddy’s best friend, Pete, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad, Kick-Ass, Pitch Perfect) as Scoonie, and Hannibal Buress (The Eric Andre Show, The Angry Birds Movie, The Nice Guys) as the hilarious policeman, Officer Watkins to name a few.
Overall, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is a decent follow-up to a comedy that really didn’t need to be made, but I’m glad they didn’t just give us the first movie again with only a few minor changes. They added new spins on various clichés from the first Neighbors film and new takes on the airbag gags and they still get a laugh.
The sorority girls are very funny and it proves that women can be just as crude and immature as men, and as long as they get me to laugh I have no problem with this. But of course the humor involving Seth Rogen and Zac Efron are also very funny, Seth’s humor is the typical type of humor you come to expect when watching his films, lots of pot, this time you become convinced that he might actually be a weed sensing android (Foreshadowing!), Efron gets plenty of laughs too and the chemistry he shares with Rogen and Byrne is undeniably charming, his career for the most part is definitely in the right direction and now I consider him to be a new favorite actor of mine.
One small nitpick I had with the film was I was actually looking forward to seeing a raunchy Selena Gomez, don’t get me wrong she did great in Spring Breakers which definitely ain’t no Disney Channel flick, but her role in this film was pretty small and practically it was a cameo. But aside from that, I got lots of belly laughs out of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, it’s got the humor, the heart, the characters, and the R rating.