Sunday, June 05, 2016

‘Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising’ Is a Passable Rehash

Back in 2014, Neighbors made $270.7 million with a mere budget of $18 million.  As to be expected from Hollywood in the face of such substantial turnover rate, it immediately follows such movie up with a sequel with the hope of making more big bucks.  That’s the only reason why Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising exists.  It’s basically a rehash of the first movie, with the main difference being, instead of a fraternity, the Radner couple clashes with a sorority.

The movie centers once again on Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne), who are now having another baby, and thus, decide to purchase a bigger home in the suburbs.  They find a buyer for their old house, but it’s in escrow for 30 days.  Unfortunately for them, the sale is threatened when the loud, party-loving Kappa Nu sorority, led by a college freshman named Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz), moves in the house next door (which used to be the Delta Psi frat house in the first movie).  Thus, the couple suddenly find themselves in a bind since having two houses will send them into financial ruin.  Desperate to ensure the sale of their house, the Radners collaborate with their former enemy, the ex-president of Delta Psi, Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), to drive the sorority out of the neighborhood.  However, the feisty Kappa Nu girls proceed to fight back.

I never strongly liked the first Neighbors movie.  But its gags were hilarious, and it was amply entertaining as a comedy film.  Comparing the two movies, the first one is a funnier, better movie overall.   However, in fairness to Sorority Rising, though it recycles the core elements of the first movie, by simply altering the sex of the antagonists, it presents new themes and some fresh comedic content.
Also, at this point, this needs to be finally acknowledged: Zac Efron can do comedy quite well.  Time and time again, even in terrible films like Dirty Grandpa, he has shown to have the kind of competence and charisma that makes a great comedian.  I sincerely wish he finds some breakout success as a pretty comedian-actor – like in a Channing Tatum sort of way.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is by no means hilariously brilliant.  At its core, it’s actually an unnecessary sequel, and it has a noticeable share of annoyances.  Still, the humor is solid at most parts: the slapstick isn’t desperate, and it has a fair amount of jokes that hit.  It’s a satisfactory comedy movie all in all.

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