Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising movie full length review - Pretty Similar To The First Neighbors But It's Still Really Funny
I liked Neighbors, it wasn't my favourite movie that year but I got a lot of laughs out of it and it did some things well. I think the most surprising thing about it was how funny Zac Efron was as Teddy.
So when they announced the sequel was about how a sorority was moving in next door, I rolled my eyes. But then after watching the trailers, I came back around and decided to see it as a double feature with The Nice Guys. I don't really have a lot of insightful things to say about it because it is a lot like that first movie but I did like it and it was worth a trip to the theatre to get a chance to see it.
*Minor Spoilers Ahead* Neighbors 2 starts just like Neighbors did with Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) having sex while trying to stay quiet enough not to disturb their daughter. It's not very romantic though and midway through Kelly pukes on Mac and tells him that she might be pregnant.
We then see a sorority at the nearby college rushing pledges. Among them is Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) who looks uncomfortable and decides to spark up a joint in the middle of the introduction speech. She's immediately told to stop and she becomes even less enthusiastic when they explain that sororities aren't allowed to throw parties and that they have to partner with frats. They go to the frat party and see how sexist it is and how it's not so much fun when you're not there just to bang the guys. She meets a couple of girls with similar mindsets Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein). Instead of just bowing to the system, they decide to form their own sorority where they can make their own rules and appreciate each other instead of just looking to sleep with the frat boys.
We then catch up with Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) who is living with his best friend Pete (Dave Franco). The frat group have gotten together for a poker night and it seems like everyone is doing well minus Teddy, who isn't progressing from his college days. That night Pete's partner proposes to him and he accepts. With them now being engaged, they try to politely ask Teddy to move out. Teddy breaks down and runs away.
The next day, the girls are looking at the house beside Mac and Kelly's place but are unable to see how they can come up with the rent. Teddy has been hiding out in the house overnight and interrupts them saying if they can get some pledges, they can get them to pay dues which will help them to come up with the rent. He gets to live with them as their sorority father of sorts. This is a big problem for Mac and Kelly, their house is in escrow (essentially its sold but there's a 30 day period where the new owners can drop in and change their minds) and with their new neighbors, they sale is in jeopardy.
The thing that Neighbors 2 does differently from Neighbors is that it tries to drive home a positive message. Neighbors did have a moral of the story in growing up but this movie points out how it can be harder for girls to go through the college experience and with the growing movement for equality among the sexes, it's only fair that women should have the same opportunities as men to party and make bad decisions. I wouldn't call this movie revolutionary but it does try to show it from the other perspective and it deserves points for that.
So, while there is that important message, if you're expecting a completely different plot from Neighbors 2, you're going to be disappointed. Both movies are not the same beat for beat but the overall arc of the plot is pretty much the same. It's going to turn some people off but if you can deal with that, the jokes and the dialogue are pretty funny to compensate. Another small negative is that there are many small moments that strain plausibility. Shelby is still too old to not know what a corded phone is. Why is it 5 buckets of money for the rent instead of a set number? The biggest one which is the same thing from the first Neighbors why won't they call the cops? If you're going to enjoy this movie though, you have to set that stuff aside.
The first Neighbors was the launching pad for Zac Efron as a comedic performer, the intention seems to be to do something similar for Chloe Grace Moretz. She's a good actress and she's occasionally funny here but instead of being more of a solo showcase, most of the laughs she generates are playing off of Kiersey and Beanie. Seth is his typically funny self, his humour isn't for everyone but he consistently delivers. Rose Byrne is pretty funny in her own right and Zac Efron again shows how funny he can be if he's got the right material. The actual jokes are more of the same, you have the gross out stuff but it works and you have some experienced people here who know how to make it funny.
I liked this movie as much as I liked the first Neighbors. They put some more effort in certain parts like having a good message and finding some ways to work in the characters from the original movie. But otherwise, it's a lot of the same, there's funny jokes and some good comedic performances. I wouldn't hold it up against my favourite Seth Rogen movies (This is the End, Zac and Miri, Pineapple Express to name a few) but it was definitely worth seeing and if you liked the first one, I can pretty much guarantee you'll find things to like in Neighbors 2.