REVIEW: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

Neighbors 2 Poster - Universal
Theatrical Release Poster – Universal.

The following is a review of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, also known as ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ internationally.

I’ve been cautiously excited for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising ever since I first heard about it. Neighbors was such a surprise hit in 2014, I thought it was so much fun. But time and time again we see bad comedy sequels. Neighbors 2 definitely isn’t bad, and it is worth seeing for fans of the first film, but the theatrical release version of Neighbors 2 wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be.

In Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Mac (played by Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (played by Rose Byrne) have a new baby on the way and are about to sell their house, which has been subjected to a 30-day escrow. Meanwhile, Shelby (played by Chloë Grace Moretz), who has started a new sorority, has rented the house next door.

Shelby’s sorority seeks to change the rule that only fraternities can party hard. Once again, the Radners have to stop a group of teens. But it won’t be easy, as the sorority is being guided by the former president of Delta Psi, Teddy Sanders (played by Zac Efron).

Chloë Grace Moretz did a pretty good job here as the leader of the new neighbors, and once again Efron, Byrne, and Rogen really shine. The original cast works so well together. But Neighbors 2 isn’t as funny as the first film. Not every joke lands, but it is still pretty funny.

However, the most surprising and interesting element of the film is the overall message. The sorority essentially attacks institutionalized sexism. The sorority points out how weird and sexist it is that they can’t do what fraternities can. The sorority members discuss how fraternity parties are dangerous for girls to attend.

But I have a lot of issues with the theatrical release of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. First and foremost, you might have seen that one red band trailer that had LL Cool J in it? Yeah, he wasn’t in the movie here. And it definitely doesn’t feel like that was the only scene they kept for the ‘Unrated Blu-Ray’ release, which I suspect is on its way.

At times, it just felt like something was off about the film. It didn’t flow very well from scene to scene. And even though I liked where the various characters ended up, I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of ending their film. It didn’t wind down very well.

My final issue with the film is that I don’t think the filmmakers handled the sorority nearly as well as they handled the fraternity from the first film. Their message may be very strong, but the sorority was short-changed a bit, which is a shame.

Still, you can’t really fault the filmmakers for focusing on three actors – Byrne, Rogen, and Efron – that have such great chemistry. And, ultimately, while the film wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, it is much stronger than most other comedy sequels.

6.7 out of 10

– I’m Jeffrey Rex

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