Neighbors 2: Sorority Uprising

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There’s a scene in Neighbors 2 in which Seth Rogen’s character tells the sorority that they were throwing a “sell-out party” instead of the party they really wanted to have. That’s because the new sorority doesn’t like the usual drunken, bacchanalian affairs where guys are just trying to get them into bed, yet they resort to that when they need to raise money.

I’d like to tell Rogen that he’s the sell-out. Neighbors was a funny film, and this had very few laughs.

Early on, you’ll think the movie has potential. When the girls attend their first college party and deem it to be “super rapey” after every guy is trying to hit on them…they decide they’ll have their own parties, and their own sorority.

The film tries to fit in some social commentary, that doesn’t work in the least. Yet it doesn’t work when it sticks to the gross-out scenes either (the film starts with Rose Byrne barfing on Seth Rogen’s face during sex). It doesn’t work when it’s the inappropriate stuff (their toddler always finds the parents’ vibrator).

This story deals with Kelly (Rose Byrne) being pregnant with their second child, the house being in escrow, and a new sorority renting the old frat house next door. So basically, you’re going to get recycled jokes as well as a recycled premise. That means Teddy (Zac Efron) will join the girls to help the sorority succeed, but he’ll eventually switch sides to help Mac (Seth Rogen) get them out of there.

There’s another story involving Teddy dealing with his best friend Pete (Dave Franco) and his upcoming marriage.

The annoying things that happen in this movie can’t be counted. A few that come to mind — why wouldn’t the police show up for noise complaints? In real life, I’ve never been to a party, even quiet ones, where the police didn’t show up if it was after dark. They don’t in this, until they’re busting drug dealers. Also, Kelly and Mac have become idiotic characters. They curse around their child, and by their own admission (and actions), aren’t very good parents. In the first movie, we rooted for them. It’s hard to here.

The sorority is run by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz of Kick-Ass). She’s been decent in these teen flicks lately, and is going to transition nicely into an adult actress (certainly better than Christopher Mintz-Plasse [McLovin], who is back in this).

A few newcomers have some good scenes. There’s Kiersey Clemons, who has a few black jokes thrown at her. She seems like a natural on screen.

Beanie Feldstein is another one of the sorority sisters, and it’s refreshing that they didn’t have a single fat joke aimed her way. She was just a regular character, that happened to be heavy.

It’s amazing that five people wrote this and it had so few jokes. Those writers include Andrew J. Cohen, Seth Rogen, Brendan O’Brien, and director Evan Goldberg (who wrote the horrible Zoolander 2, and directed the awful Sex Tape).

The movie had a handful of funny scenes. The one time the toddler carrying the dildo worked, was when a new couple was looking to buy the house. Every character in that scene had something witty to add.

Another scene had Rogen running through various tailgate parties after stealing pot, while the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” plays.

And as funny as the “Robet De Niro theme party” was in Neighbors, the girls “Feminist Icon party” had a few good laughs with an Oprah Winfrey character, and three different Hillary Clinton’s.

And when one character, who admitted to being a virgin, has a “Losing my Virginity party” — you can’t help but chuckle as Hava Nagila is played, and she sits on a chair that is being tossed in the air.

As cool as it is hearing Joan Jett doing “Time Has Come Today,” the cover isn’t as good as the Chamber Brothers’ original, but since the “message” of this movie is that the girls can party just like the guys — perhaps it was an appropriate choice.

The appropriate choice for the filmgoer is to skip this, and watch the funnier first film again. If you’re just dying to see these man-child characters, just wait a few weeks. There will be another Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, or Seth Rogen movie coming out soon.

This gets 1 ½ stars out of 5.

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