REVIEW: Neighbors 2 – Sorority Rising (2016)

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2016, Universal Pictures/Good Universe/Point Grey Pictures

Director:
Nicholas Stoller
Producers:
James Weaver
Seth Rogen
Evan Goldberg
Writers:
Andrew Jay Cohen (original characters and screenplay)
Brendan O’Brien (original characters and screenplay)
Nicholas Stoller
Seth Rogen
Evan Goldberg
Cinematography:
Brandon Trost
Editing:
Zene Baker
Peck Prior
Michael A. Webber

Cast:
Seth Rogen (Mac Radner)
Zac Efron (Teddy Sanders)
Rose Byrne (Kelly Radner)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Shelby)
Ike Barinholtz (Jimmy)
Carla Gallo (Paula)
Kiersey Clemons (Beth)
Beanie Feldstein (Nora)
Dave Franco (Pete)
Jerrod Carmichael (Garf)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Scoonie)
Clara Mamet (Maranda)
Selena Gomez (Phi Lambda President)
Lisa Kudrow (Dean Gladstone)

Seth Rogen and Zac Efron are back in this sequel, which has a good point that we see the female side of things in the world of college sororities, but instead of being bitter rivals, Rogen and Efron work together to take down a common threat.

Mac and Kelly Radner have decided to move and are planning to sell their house. When they find buyers, they have thirty days to wait until the closing of the house. As they hope nothing can go wrong, they soon are about to relive a past nightmare. After learning that sororities are not allowed to throw parties, disgruntled college freshman Shelby forms a new sorority with fellow freshmen Beth and Nora. They create Kappa Nu and find a mentor in Teddy Sanders, who finds himself in his own predicament when his best friend Pete is engaged to his longtime partner.

Kappa Nu finds the perfect house to move into, next door to Mac and Kelly. Learning Teddy has become the new sorority’s mentors, Mac and Kelly are convinced that Teddy is out for revenge for his shenanigans when his fraternity had moved next door a few years ago. However, when Shelby and the Kappa Nu decide to go too far with some actions, they throw Teddy out for his mentoring skills. With nowhere else to go, Teddy turns to Mac and together, they must find a way to stop the Kappa Nu once and for all because the Radners are at risk of losing their buyers with the constant partying of the sorority. Will the former rivals be able to work together to stop their common enemy?

When the original Neighbors was released in 2014, it showcased the hilarious antics of both Seth Rogen and former Disney star Zac Efron, who proves he can provide laughs as they played rivals. The gags in the film were quite funny for its time, including the famous “airbag” prank. Rogen and Rose Byrne do quite well returning as the couple, who are now parents of a 2-year old who just loves to play with a certain personal item that is one of the film’s running gags. Rogen once again is the crazy husband while Byrne, despite going to some sort of desperate measures in the film, is clearly the level headed conscious of the couple.

While he was an integral part of the original film, Dave Franco is relegated to a secondary character who not only had a secret no one ever knew in the first film, but becomes the catalyst for Efron’s eventual defection. Ike Barinholtz provides some funny comic relief as Mac’s friend who like Mac has a pregnant wife and tends to be not totally clear of mind. His clown gag midway through the film is actually quite funny and not that annoying.

The new “villains” of the film is led by Hit Girl herself, Chloe Grace Moretz. She portrays Shelby, the leader of Kappa Nu sorority as a disgruntled teen who just yearns for new experiences. With some ample support from Kiersey Clemons’ straight talking Beth and the funny Beanie Feldstein as Nora, Moretz truly is the female equivalent of Efron’s character. There is a sense of empowerment in her character that female fans will truly like, but even her antics will eventually get the best of her. While Efron’s Teddy was not just a leader, but felt like he belonged somewhere in the original film, Moretz’s Shelby created the sorority because she wanted the feeling of belonging. So while the antics between the two are similar, their foremanners show polar opposites.

Some of the antics of the film are just slightly raunchier, from a literal “nut shot” to something very unexpected in the third act. However, overall, they don’t stand up to the original. Yes, the airbags are still there, but they are not meant as a way to prank someone but are used to a more practical use in a very pivotal scene of the film and still makes the audience laugh.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising has its moments and sense of female empowerment, but it is not as good as the original yet it does come close to being just that. With having a sense of seeing both fraternities and sororities, it is safe to say that a third installment will be totally unnecessary. Fans of the original should like this one.

WFG RATING: B

This film is currently playing in theaters. Check your local theater for showtimes.

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