Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising: Film Review
Cast: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Chloe Grace-Moretz
Director: Nicholas Stoller
A comedy of diminishing returns, Bad Neighbours 2 simply doesn't have enough steam or gags to sustain it second time around.
When Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne's Mac and Kelly sell their house, they find they have a 30 day stand down period where the buyers could pull out. Things aren't much better for Zac Efron's Teddy Sanders - his best bud in college Pete (Dave Franco) is about to be engaged to his boyfriend and so wants Teddy out of the house they share.
And for Chloe Grace Moretz's freshman Shelby, college life is sucking with the fraternities ruling the roost and sororities hit by sexist double standards. So, finding the house empty next door to Mac and Kelly, Shelby and some chums decide to set up a party house - much to the horror of those about to sell.
Finding a purpose with the sisters as a mentor, Teddy clashes again with his old neighbours, but when he's double-crossed, it's all on as the older generation take on the younger generation.
Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising is a tamer, less funny retread of the first film.
Whereas Bad Neighbours had the wherewithal to play on the older generation vs the youngsters and lash it in edges of Rogen's once-party guy trying to recapture some of his youth, the push this time that Teddy is trying to stay relevant when everyone else has moved on is not really strong enough.
And unfortunately for Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising, it appears most of the gags have moved on as well.
While there's a commentary bubbling under the non- Spring-Breakers style house over sexist double standards within America's campuses, Moretz's Shelby is never anything more than a sweet-natured rebel; there's no bite in this revolution and no real flow in the turf war that grows. Things escalate simply because the movie demands they do, not because the narrative decrees it.
It leads to Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising feeling piecemeal and patchy at best.
There's no denying that when things get a little looser on the script front that it elicits laughs - and Efron is playing dangerously close to sending up his own goofy image of pecs and dumbness in this latest (to say he's game is more than fair). Rose Byrne proves to be the film's comedy weapon, delivering such unexpected lines that shame of the flatter set-pieces and retreads that live within.
Ultimately, recycling proves to be Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising's weakest plot; a scattershot flat plot, built on ludicrous foundations and a few amusing moments does not a great comedy film make.
And while Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising has the good grace to be only 90 minutes long, its refusal to build on any of its generational and millennial themes or social gender and campus commentary for maximum comic effect leave that 90 minutes feeling tame and drawn out.
Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising is a film without a real punchline, a sequel that does nothing to build on the original and one which feels surplus to requirements.