“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” | Movie Review

Neighbors 2 (2016) 1Grade (B)

A mindless good time!

What do you do in Hollywood when you release a successful comedy? Add a couple minor pieces and do it all over again, thus, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.” This one brings back Seth Rogen, Rosy Byrne and Zac Efron with the additions of Chloe Grace Moretz and Keirsey Clemons.

In this story the Radner’s are moving on. They have bought a new house, just sold their current one, and with a second child on the way, they plan on starting the next phase of their life. With their house in escrow all seems normal until a sorority moves into the house next door that turns out to be more intrusive than the fraternity was. To keep the sale of their house from falling through, the Radner’s will enlist the help of the perfect man for the job, Teddy, the same man who led the fraternity that ruined their lives when they first moved to the neighborhood.

The first film was a truly brainless comedic romp that delivered a surprising amount of entertainment with likable characters and a strong comedic performance from Efron. This sequel was much the same, still raunchy, still hilarious at times, still brainless, but still relatively entertaining.

This one didn’t stray too far from the formula that worked in the first one and regardless of an absurd plot you can still turn off your thinking cap, and have a ton of laughs with this movie, that despite being a sequel clearly did not just mail it in for a cash grab. There were handfuls of hilarious lines, handfuls of dumb ones, and all the characters I grew to like in this first. I enjoyed the advancement of Efron’s character and throughout this ridiculous story was a very grounded subplot about coming to grips with being an adult, however with a highly comical overcoat.

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne were again highly amusing. However, in this sequel it felt like more of their scenes and dialogue were forced, in particular Byrne. It was almost like they knew her comical efforts in the first performance came off well so the writers tried – too hard – in my opinion to exploit that outlet.

Rogen was again Rogen which worked great in this story, he provided many laughs most at his own expense but it worked. He and Efron show a strong chemistry once again and it was enjoyable to watch them play off one another and the clear fun they took into the roles translated well onscreen once again.

With the addition of the sorority to the story Moretz, Clemons and Feldstein added another comedic angle to the story.  They were all pretty funny at times but it wasn’t the same result as the dynamic Dave Franco had with Efron in the fraternity as this time Franco was simply a bulked up cameo character. Efron and the girls of the sorority did have some fun scenes though as the age gap provided some laughs which put the playboy Teddy in an unusual state of being old and out of touch.

There was also a cluster of cameos that had their moments to keep the pace moving and overall this was a solid sequel to a fun raunch-com. I had a lot of fun watching this mindless comedy and despite their being more forced moments this was still a great time as the writing, performances and outrageous plot translate to a wildly good time.

Time: 92 min

MPAA Rating: R (for crude sexual content including brief graphic nudity, language throughout, drug use and teen partying)