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Movie Review: “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” Provides Solid Jokes in a Lackluster Story

Oh sequels…rarely are they ever better than the first.  And sadly, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” falls right into this stereotype.
 
After loving “Neighbors,” it pains me to say that this sequel didn’t deliver the way I’d hoped. The first film was more than just a hilarious comedy. There was originality and relevance to the plot. New parents struggled to stay hip and young while maintaining adulthood. Young frat boys struggled to grow up and prepare for the real world. All this plus some of the best slapstick comedy I’ve seen in years.  Unfortunately, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” basically uses the same template, but just switches a few things so that it may not be completely obvious that they are recycling material.
 
In “Neighbors 2” Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) have just found out they are pregnant with a second child. With the new baby on the way they decide to move to a better home. They soon buy a new house, and though they’ve got interested buyers for their old house, they must wait 30 days until deal is final. This allows the buyers to come by whenever they like and make sure everything with their potential new home is fine.
Seeing as the house next door has been empty since they got rid of the fraternity that lived there in the last film, there should be no problem…Oh but, wait!
 
Meet our new group of troublemakers: Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons), and Nora (Beanie Feldstein). All three of these girls had planned to pledge an existing sorority. But when they find out that under national Greek rules sororities can’t throw parties and the all frat parties are sexist and degrading, they decide to create their own female empowered sorority! With the help of a former frat brother, Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), these girls find their new home right next to Mac and Kelly.
 

As the girls begin to throw loud parties, Mac and Kelly think of new ways to once again get rid of their neighbors, essentially leading to the same plot.

Of course this time around with it being girls, we get to see how women handle a take down. This includes one of the most disgusting scenes involving used tampons.

To be fair, “Neighbors 2” has plenty of laughs, mostly thanks to Zac Efron. But it’s hardly enough to disguise a weak plot and a handful of forced jokes. At least in the previous film, I liked the fraternity. At some points I even rooted for them to succeed. They were funny and enjoyable to watch, which is the complete opposite of this group of girls. As talented as Chloe Grace Moretz is, this character had to be one of her worst. She comes off as a ditz, annoying, and unlikable. I would have much rather seen more of Teddy’s old frat brothers, Pete (Dave Franco), Garf (Jerrod Carmichael) and Scoonie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). It’s a shame we only get a brief “where are they now” moment with these guys.
 
Though there is a clear attempt at making this story different with a solid, original conclusion, you can’t help but just wish they had refrained from ever making this unnecessary sequel.

Rating: 2.5/5

“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” Trailer HD

Movie Review: “Neighbors” is One of the Most Hilarious Comedies of the Year

It is Rogen verses Efron.  And in this battle, we, the audience are the winners.

After his let down performance in That Awkward Moment, I was a bit wary when walking into this film.  I wasn’t sure if Efron could compete with Rogen in the “real” battle at hand.  Which star can generate more laughs?  And would Zac Efron offer more to the story than just his chiseled abs and deep blue eyes?  Well folks, I’m here to tell you that Zac Efron not only proves himself as a genuine comedic actor, he is also able to hold his own against Seth Rogen.  At times, he is even funnier than the Knocked Up star himself.

The more I think about this movie, the more I appreciate the whole premise.  Such a simple idea/nightmare has made for a truly fantastic laugh out loud comedy.

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) have just moved into the perfect home with their beautiful new born baby.  Kelly is a stay at home mom who gets to spend all day with baby Stella.  Mac works a 9-5 desk job that he tries to endure with a little bit of help from “Mary Jane.”  Their days are starting to feel routine, and they are unable to go out because of the baby.  It’s beginning to feel stagnant for the new parents.  But all that changes when we hear the sound of the boisterous fraternity that has moved in next door.  In hopes of keeping this a quiet neighborhood for their little girl, the couple head to the frat’s first rowdy party.  What was supposed to be a quick noise complaint visit turned into a refreshing night out for Mac and Kelly.  And after having what will probably be remembered as the best debate over “who is Batman,” Teddy and Mac form a bond and an understanding of trust is made.  Unfortunately that trust is broken within 24 hours, and leads to an epic war between the two houses.

It is hard to even pick a side because both leaders of the house are written as such likeable characters.  On one hand, you have a new father trying to prove to his wife and himself that he can handle being the responsible one, while still being cool.  Then you have the devoted frat president who spends way too much time partying, and caring about the mark he leaves behind in his brotherhood rather than thinking about the real world that is ahead of him.

Neighbors is not just carried by their two stars.  This film has a strong supporting comedic cast filled with even better cameos.  Rose Byrne is the perfect mix of wit and wholesome beauty.  Dave Franco plays Teddy’s Vice President, Pete, and shares great chemistry with his fraternity brother.  Young Franco is easily following in the footsteps of his talented, successful older brother; and I look forward to seeing him in many more projects, hopefully in leading roles.   A shout out also goes to The Mindy Project’s co-writer and cast member, Ike Barinholtz.  Like on his sitcom, Barinholtz’s role as Rogen’s best friend may not be huge, but produces enough chuckles to make him memorable.

What is most satisfying about Neighbors is how it is more than just a hilarious slapstick comedy.  There is heart and a sense of authenticity.  A lot of us are afraid to grow up. It can feel as though we will be missing out on “the party,” when in reality, your life and how you choose to live it can be the most legendary party that never ends.

Rating: 4/5

Neighbors hits theaters May 9.

Neighbors Official Trailer HD

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com