Thursday, September 22, 2016

Movie Review: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

Neighbors 2 Sorority Rising movie poster
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) - Directed by Nicholas Stoller; Written by Andrew J. Cohen, Stoller, Brendan O'Brien, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg; Starring Rogen, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Zac Efron, Ike Barinholtz, Dave Franco, Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Selena Gomez, Lisa Kudrow, Kyle Mooney, Hannibal Burress, Kelsey Grammar, Abbi Jacobson, Billy Eichner, Sam Richardson.

By Kenny Howell

To Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's credit, they could just cash checks.

Everyone does it from time to time and who could blame them if they did This is the End 2, and just ended up smoking weed with the Backstreet Boys. They've built up enough good will at this point to do something like that.

But they don't. Their movies have a reason for being, no matter how silly it may be. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising could seem like a crash grab, but it is not. The first film was a big hit, and they could have just made the same movie again with not much of an angle, but there is something there.  It is about sexism at its core, with lots of physical humor and penis jokes along with it.

The fraternity next door is long gone, but a sorority has now snatched up the property. Led by Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass 2), Kappa Nu is a new sorority that allows the young women involved to do something the Greek laws don't allow them to - party. The Greek system says that only fraternities can have parties, and the sororities can go to them, but they can't throw their own. That's some straight of 1955 crap, but it still stands today.

Kappa Nu isn't having that, so they move into the house next to Rogen's Mac and his wife Kelly, played by Rose Byrne (The Place Beyond the Pines), who are parenting their toddler with another one on the way. Zac Efron (The Paperboy) is back as Teddy, the former frat brother that terrorized the couple in the last film. This time he is here to help the sorority get organized and put some sort of meaning in his life. He is working retail, and all his buddies are going on to bigger things. He feels lost when two of his brothers get married, and he is forced to find new living situations, which takes him back to the old house.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising doesn't really know what to do with Rogen and Byrne for the first half of the movie, as they spend most of their time rehashing their situation to the audience. They are selling the house, it is in escrow, and they are hoping the buyers don't realize that a crazy sorority is living next door. It still keeps its equal rights message at its core, and that is enough to get you from laugh to laugh, which, as you would expect, there are plenty. Rogen and Goldberg (This is the End) have always done that, gotten a lot of laughs from not much there. But there is always at least something there.

Rating: ***

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