Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (R) ★★

Neighbors 2 image
Zac Efron and Seth Rogen star in “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising’ Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

An unnecessary sequel that fails in its girl-power message.

I was not a fan of 2014’s Neighbors, so I admittedly didn’t have high hopes for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. This time around, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Bryne) Radner have sold their place, have another baby on the way, and have already bought their new dream home in another town. Unfortunately for them, during the 30-day escrow period where their buyers can still back out of the deal, a fledgling sorority—Kappa Nu—moves in next door, right where Teddy’s (Zac Efron) old fraternity used to live.

The girls of Kappa Nu, headed up by the totally vacant Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz), are trying to rebel against the nationwide rule that prevents sororities from hosting parties at their own houses. (If there’s anything this movie achieves, it’s making the masses aware of this crazy-but-true double standard.) We all know that girls just wanna have fun, but the way these girls go about it doesn’t make them very sympathetic characters. While I’m usually the first person to root for films with messages of gender equality, the sorority girls in Neighbors 2 are just so downright dumb—not knowing anything about finances, caring mostly about selling and/or smoking pot, never mentioning anything about classes or goals, and using truly disgusting tactics to get revenge on the Radners—I was never once on their side. And every single line of their dialogue sounded forced, like something no one would ever say. Maybe five men (Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Brendan O’Brien, director Nicholas Stoller and Andrew J. Cohen) shouldn’t have been the ones to write a film with a girl-power message?

As bad as the Kappa Nu sisters were, I couldn’t root for the Radners, either, because they are THE WORST PARENTS OF ALL TIME. This bothered me in the first film as well. At one point Mac and Kelly even argue about who’s the worst parent, and when they try to one-up each other by sharing the awful ways they’ve failed their daughter, it’s cringe-worthy. And the running joke about their toddler playing with one of Kelly’s sex toys? No thank you.

The only parts of the film I found even remotely funny all involved Zac Efron’s character Teddy, who is first an advisor to the girls of Kappa Nu until they vote to dump him (by a quick texting session, of course). Then he decides to team up with the Radners in his desperate attempt to be of value in this world. Teddy is a lost soul, but at least he still has a soul, unlike all of the other characters in Neighbors 2.

The Bottom-Line? Zac Efron’s quarter-life-crisising Teddy brings some laughs, but the rest of the film and its “message” are just laughable.

Cast: Seth Rogen (Mac Radner), Rose Bryne (Kelly Radner), Zac Efron (Teddy Sanders), Chloë Grace Moretz (Shelby)

Credits: Directed by Nicholas Stoller. Written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller and Andrew J. Cohen

Studio: Universal Pictures

Run Time: 1 hour 32 minutes

Erika Olson © May 20, 2016