Bad Neighbours 2/Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

May 16, 2016 | Posted by in Movies

First thing to say about Nicholas Stoller’s (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) Bad Neighbours 2 (or Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising in the U.S.) is that it’s not really a film. It’s basically a set of implausible excuses for a series of gross-out set-pieces that barely constitute a plot. The thing is, it’s actually surprisingly entertaining for it.

The basic, for want of a better way to describe it, “plot-line” is that our anti-heroes from the first movie Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne), have a second baby on the way so have decided to sell up and head for the suburbs. Unfortunately, they’re locked in to buying this new house before they’ve sold the present one, and although they have buyers, they hilariously (pardon me, I’ll remove my tongue from my cheek) don’t understand escrow, so we have it explained to us that it means that the buyers have 30 days to mull over their decision to buy. In this time they can have the house looked at by professionals, and pop by at any point to make sure it’s right for them.

NeighboursSo far, so good, but wait! Chloë Grace Moretz‘s character Shelby has decided, along with her friends, that they want to start a Sorority in the old house that Zach Efron’s Teddy Sanders used to run their Fraternity. Why you may ask? Well, for some reason apparently Sororities aren’t allowed to hold parties, so have to go to the sort of misogynistic Frat Parties that Hollywood has made us all so familiar with, and after attending one of these events, the girls are spurred into action.

From here we get the initial reasonable request from the grown-ups to keep it down for a month so they can move on and get out of each other’s hair, but, due mainly to the need to have a movie that is more than twenty minutes long, Teddy decides that he wants revenge for all the hard times the Radners gave him when he was running the Frat (even though they actually ended the last film on pretty good terms), so he convinces the girls to start an all-out gross-out war with the neighbours. This really is the tipping point for you as a viewer. Either you accept that this makes no sense, and go with it, or you realise that the plot-holes are going to drive you mad and you spend the rest of the film questioning everything, ending up rocking gently in your cinema chair muttering to yourself.

So, which way to go? Personally I’d say go with it. Nothing in this film is high-brow or makes a huge amount of sense and some of the shoe-horned moralising may even get your hackles up, but it will make you giggle to yourself. Zach Efron is again, actually managing to overturn my initial dislike of him, and turns in a very decent performance. His frat pretty-boy character, stuck in the past as his friends move on with their lives, finding new purpose and new loves is never played to the point that you dislike him. He really does play this role well, and given his performances in other movies of late, he seems to be maturing well as an actor.

Seth Rogen is Seth Rogen. If you like him, you’ll like this movie. Rose Byrne is a little wasted this time around. Her character is doing exactly the same thing as in the first movie, and it would have been nice to see her being more than the pregnant lady. I will admit that the two of them do manage an awesome “terrible parents” routine, and their insistence that their first-born’s favourite toy being from a popular Japanese Anime, rather than the vibrator it obviously is, brings a smile right the way through the film.

The Sorority is probably the weakest part of the movie, full of folk trying to be gross for the sake of being gross, and with double standards that will make eye’s roll right the way round back into their original position. I can’t help but feel if they’d just tried to dispense with laying on the moralising with a JCB as they do, they’d have ended up with a far stronger film, and with the epiphany from the Kappa Nu’s at the end would have packed a far heftier punch. Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids and Jason Moore’s Pitch Perfect both proved that this could be done, but Stoller appears to want to have his cake and eat it, and doesn’t want to commit to either extreme for his female characters.


For all its shortcomings this is an enjoyable enough romp. The set-pieces will raise a laugh, and the extremes, although implausible, show a certain imagination, so long as you don’t look too hard. Our director handles his role in this fairly standard Hollywood comedy well enough. The pace is kept up, and the whole thing ticks along quite nicely. I’d also have to say that the disjointed feel of the movie as a whole is far more the fault of the screenplay than the direction.

As I stated at the start of this review, it’s hard to see this as a cohesive film, but you will have an entertaining enough 92 minutes in a darkened room with strangers, so why not take the chance.

  • 6.5/10
    Bad Neighbours 2/Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising - 6.5/10


Kneel Before…

  • some gross gross-outs
  • Zac Efron’s continued rise to public acceptability
  • a decent vibrator joke

Rise Against…

  • not many new ideas
  • Rose Byrne being wasted along with the other one-dimensional female characters
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