Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Nicholas Stoller's Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is that rare sequel that manages to top the original in every single way, wisely amping up the jokes, the story and the stakes in a way that feels like a natural progression, only a heck of a lot more funny.
Nicholas Stoller‘s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is a miracle of a film, managing to be one of those rare sequels that surpasses its predecessor with ease. Neighbors 2 will make you laugh harder and longer than you thought was possible, thanks to a joke-filled script that moves at an incredibly efficient pace, plus on-point performances from Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron and Chloe Grace Moretz.
I’ll start out my review by saying that I absolutely did not care for Stoller’s first Neighbors film. I consider it to be one of Rogen’s weaker films and one that I absolutely could not watch more than once. The jokes fell flat and the film moved at a pace that could put you to sleep.
Yet I loved Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.
It’s a sequel that completely understands that it shouldn’t exist, yet it does so with ease. It smartly deals with themes of sexism in a way that’s both interesting and hilarious, while also turning Seth Rogen into a believable parent or “old person” as the film’s new blood Chloe Grace Moretz refers to him as.
Not to mention more shirtless Zac Efron for the ladies, only this time he gets even more screen time. This is mostly a good thing, because Efron understands the importance of comedic timing and Rogen is no slacker in the jokes department.
This fact is made all the better by their female co-stars Rose Byrne and Chloe Grace Moretz. Byrne really should spend more time in comedies, because she’s an absolute riot when given the right material.
Moretz sticks out slightly as the outlier when it comes to actual comedy, but her presence in the film more than works, especially when she’s surrounded by equally impressive talent among the sorority.
But what makes Neighbors 2 click most of all is its ability to supply an endless stream of jokes and its attention to detail when dealing with the film’s questionable plot. Almost every single outcome or scenario is accounted for, which helps the extended jokes work far beyond someone simply asking themselves why nobody has called the cops already.
The film’s script is far from a masterpiece, but it deserves credit for at the very least trying to be a worthwhile sequel that doesn’t outstay its welcome. I thought the idea of a sequel to a subpar comedy was the worst idea ever, yet I found myself laughing rather hard throughout the film.
It’s a brisk watch that feels loaded with content that mostly sticks. Performances might not be career best, but they’re definitely shining examples of how important a complete and cohesive cast is to a film. The story continuously mentions the idea of teamwork and sticking together and it is those very same concepts that makes the film work when it has every right not to.
Director Nicholas Stoller knows how far to take the jokes and how to juggle all of the comedic elements without dropping the ball. Neighbors 2 works so well because it knows its audience and it knows how to make them laugh without becoming a complete joke. Its characters are intentionally over-exaggerated to a certain point and Stoller dances with the idea of crossing that point, but retreads at the perfect moment.
His control of the film is apparent, never giving Rogen too much time to infuse his usual stoner comedy or Efron too much time to stare blankly through the screen. Stoller knows that Neighbor 2‘s success depends on the back-and-forth between its stars and the ability to land more jokes than the first, without throwing the plot completely by the waist side.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is every bit as fun as it looks, wisely morphing the simplistic plot of the first film into a brief discussion about sexism in America (for both women and men), while still supplying you with a hefty amount of R-rated laughs.