Need Better Fences – Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

Sequelitis.  So after besting the fraternity that tried to move in next door, our happy couple (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne) is now selling their home two years later.  They’re closing on a deal, but a sorority that wants to make themselves known as girls that party is moving in next door, and it may just put the entire sale of their home into jeopardy.  Now I liked the first Neighbors okay, but it was nothing that I felt strongly about.  It was definitely not a story I imagined that I would be seeing the further adventures of these characters, but I’ve been wrong before, and now we have Neighbors 2, another comedy sequel that is grasping at straws.

2I don’t know how many times you can make the same joke about keeping the music down.

I have an odd relationship with Seth Rogen movies.  More often than not, I enjoy them when I first watch them, but the longer I have to think about them, the less fondly I remember them, like Pineapple Express or Zack and Miri Make a Porno for example, and even to a lesser extent This Is the End.  Superbad is one of the few exceptions to the rule.  So much of this is just the same exact thing that the first movie already did better, and it doesn’t bring really anything new to the table.  For a quick moment, it really seemed like this was going to be a movie with something to say about the state of college parties today, and how everybody who wants to cut loose and have a good time has to submit to sexist culture, just because it is the status quo.  It sets itself up perfectly for it, but then all of that falls to the wayside and we see what this movie is all about, which is a bunch of gross out sight gags.

1You know what you’re in for when you open your movie with a vomit in the face joke.

There is one redeeming thing to this movie, and that is the performance from Zac Efron.  I love how he’s not afraid to play a character that is this much of an airhead, and whenever he was onscreen, I found myself enjoying what he was doing.  I think Chloë Grace Moretz is easily the weakest part of the movie, and if she simply cared more, it could have helped to elevate this at least half a rating point, if not more.  Apart from Zac, the only thing that made me laugh was how these adults don’t understand how escrow works.  I got occasional chuckles out of this and hardly any big laughs, and they did not put enough new ideas on paper to merit making this movie.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) **

– Critic for Hire

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