Neighbors 2 (2016) ⭐⭐⭐

It might veer too close to retread territory for some, but this sequel delivers non-stop raunchy humor along with a surprising amount of heart.

 

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

 

With an abundance of dildo jokes and plenty of gross out humor, Neighbors 2 is just as outrageous as the original, albeit with a feminist twist and an emphasis on growing up. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Bryne) are in the final steps of selling the house, until a new sorority moves in next to them that threatens to derail their plans.

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Neighbors 2 really surprised me. As someone who was not a huge fan of the paper thin plot of the original’s “lets out prank the frat boys next to us”, the sequel boasts much more personality and social commentary to go along with the chaotic fun. When Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) discovers that sororities aren’t allowed to throw parties like frats can (yes this is actually true), she decides to create a new sorority out of the system to host their own parties.

It’s uncommon to see such a sexist issue being tackled in a R-rated studio comedy, and it lends some much needed motivation to the chaos. Whereas the frat boys in the original just wanted blow shit up for the sake of it, Shelby’s pursuit for friendship and sisterhood is much more heartfelt. Especially when you consider the very real misogyny that can occur in frat parties.

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The lively cast elevates the whole affair, with Seth Rogen and Rose Bryne clearly having fun with the premise. Zac Efron also returns as Teddy Sanders, who starts out by mentoring the girls to get a taste of his glory days once more. Of course, he quickly switches sides when the girls kick him out. Without spoiling anything, Zac Efron is terrific as Teddy. His character has a healthy dollop of reality hitting him, and Efron plays it off wonderfully with genuine sincerity.

In the end Neighbors 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel or do anything particularly memorable, but it does provide a steady stream of laughs along with characters that i actually cared for. Throughout its 92 minutes the film never sagged, and if you are into these types of comedies you’ll have a blast.

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