I wrote a review on the first one on Facebook last year well before I even knew about WordPress, but basically I thought the movie was alright. It wasn’t hysterical, but it had some legit funny moments. Enough to prevent me from hating it, but not enough to be anything more than what it was: a standard comedy. I honestly didn’t think this would be very different, but hey, Chloe Grace Moretz usually saves movie for me, even if the movie itself isn’t all that good. I also like Rose Byrne enough. But with expectations set low, this is my honest opinion of NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING.
Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne respectively) are pregnant again! With a second baby on the way, they think it’s time to move to bigger house. Some time later, they have one, but the current buyers of their house have a thirty day grace period to make sure that the house they’re buying doesn’t have any kinks in it that would deter them from committing. Well, some bad news. Their neighboring house that was once occupied by frat boys, led by Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), is now getting invaded by something just as diabolical… sororities, led by the party-hungry feminist Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz), who is outraged to learn that in the U.S. only fraternities are allowed to throw parties, but not sororities. With the help of her friends Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein), they set up the rebellious sorority, Kappa Nu. Afraid that this will prevent them from sealing the deal and end up having two houses and obviously unable to pay for both, it becomes another neighbor versus neighbor as one side just wants to move out and the other wants equal rights.
On some levels it’s an improvement over the first, but… yeah, this is going to take some effort.
The reason why I say that this movie is an improvement is because I can respect a movie that tries to take a stand on current hot button issues. In this case: feminism. The movie makes the claim that sororities can’t throw parties, but fraternities can. I guess this is how I’m starting my review, so… first and foremost, I’m no expert on college “laws” or rules and regulations, so my research into the subject matter is strictly first-page Google searches. If I’m interpreting the information correctly, the common denominator is that it’s not necessarily that sororities aren’t allowed to throw parties, but they can’t have alcohol at the event, unless it’s being co-hosted by a frat house.
I mean, isn’t that kind of a big distinction? Either way, yeah, that’s bullshit. Clearly. No good reason for it. Unfortunately, that’s as far as my opinion can stretch to. I’m not particularly knowledgeable about sororities and fraternities… or college life for that matter. I went to my classes and went home. Never even had so much as a dorm. I don’t party, I don’t drink heavily, I don’t do drugs, so it’s hard to speak of an issue that doesn’t directly affect me.
But on to the movie itself.
Is it just me, or are Mac and Kelly the only inhabitants of this neighborhood? I mean, seriously, no one else is listening to these girls’ loud music and crazy antics? And seriously, no one in this neighborhood calls the cops? How many complaints of disruption of peace from multiple houses can these girls take before the police start arresting someone? This can’t be that hard. This was a prime opportunity for the writers to really use their brains and figure out how to outmaneuver the legal system. If there wasn’t a way, then this is the perfect example of a movie that was dead on arrival. But since intelligence is devoid of this story, it’s purely for the immature humor.
Despite these efforts in being smarter, the very soul of this movie is still strictly a college party movie, not a whole lot different from the first flick. I mean, occasionally it’ll make a valid point. One prank involves the girls throwing bloody tampons at and in the Radner house, and when Teddy comments how gross that is, the girls make the comment, “if it was a bag of dicks, you’d think that was funny!” This of course prompts Teddy to chuckle and accept the girls’ prank. Now that’s something to talk about. If a guy comes up with a gross joke, it’s funny, but if a woman comes up with a gross joke, then it’s in poor taste. That’s a double standard and impossible to argue. However, these valid points are far inbetween. The jokes aren’t centered around an attempt to bring to light other double standards. It’s like out of the five writers on this project (yes, five God damn writers), one of them had something smart to add to the script, and then the rest is recycling the formula from the first movie. College kids do something, adults do something back, there’s no variation. And trust me, I haven’t even touched on the actual gross-out/immature humor.
Yeah, okay, there’s a few legit funny and heartfelt moments. Kelsey Grammer as Shelby’s dad was hilarious. Pete (Dave Franco) and Teddy becoming friends again at the end, that was handled pretty well. I even think the resolution between the Radners and Kappa Nu was pretty smart. But all of this doesn’t amount to much when the basis of the whole story is a stance for equal rights and the damnation of double standards. The intelligence isn’t consistent throughout the movie, it’s just a reminder what this movie is supposed to be standing for rather than actually standing for it. This had the foundation of a really good movie, but instead opts for a pretty standard comedy. I think if you were a fan of the first one, you’ll like this one just fine, certainly if you’re a fan of Rogen.
My honest rating: a weak 3/5