BAD NEIGHBOURS 2 (USA/16/92mins)
Directed by Nicholas Stoller. Starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ike Barinholtz, Selena Gomez.
THE PLOT: Three years after they saw off the fraternity of Delta Psi from the house next door, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) realise their family is about to get bigger, and put their house on the market. With 30 days of escrow looming, all seems well until a new sorority – Kappa Nu, led by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) – move into the vacant house. To see off the girls and ensure that the buyers of their house don’t back out, Mac and Kelly enlist the help of their former enemy Teddy (Zac Efron), who is feeling nostalgic about his days in the house.
THE VERDICT: Only two years after the first film came out, those Bad Neighbours are back with an idea that, on paper at least, feels rather predictable and obvious. The good news is that the story is actually rather self aware, and underneath all the daft humour there is actually a message about sexism and the perception of both young and not as young people.
Many of the cast of the first film return for this second outing; Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Ike Barinholtz, Lisa Kudrow and Carla Gallo all reprise their roles and do well with what they are given. Efron, Byrne and Rogen shine in particular, with their ability to improvise and comic timing really being shown off here. The new members of the cast are led by Chloe Grace Moretz, who has proven time and again that she is more than able to take on comedy, and does well here. The rest of the cast features Abbi Jacobson, Beanie Feldstein, Selena Gomez and Tara Bowles, and they are joined by Billy Eichner and Kelsey Grammer in cameo roles.
The screenplay, written by Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg at first seems like it is going to go down very predictable lines – Girls are worse than boys! Shock! Horror! – and while there is a little of that at the start of the film, the film does touch on the sexualisation of women in American colleges – almost every party thrown by Efron’s character Teddy referred to women as hoes – and the blatant double standard between fraternities and sororities in the outdated Greek system, which is rather strange to us at this side of the world. The jokes still rely on either gross out or stoner humour, but the chemistry of the cast makes these work and the straight up silliness of the film is entertaining and fun.
As director, Nicholas Stoller manages the film well for the most part; the comedy is strong, the timing good and the more ridiculous notions out forward in the film are supported by the absurdity of the film’s idea as a whole. The pacing does struggle from time to time, particularly when the jokes become too gross or too repetitive, but there is plenty to laugh at in ‘Bad Neighbours 2’, especially when the cast are not afraid to poke fun at themselves.
In all, ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ is funny, daft and entertaining; a decent follow up to the first film and one that at least tries to have a deeper message than the one immediately evident. As with the last film, Efron, Byrne and Rogen shine, with the rest of the cast keeping up with them. It’s just a shame that the third act of the film does not live up to the promise of the first two.
RATING: 3.5/5
Review by Brogen Hayes

Bad Neighbours 2
Review by Brogen Hayes
3.5A decent sequel
  • filmbuff2011

    Bad Neighbours 2, or Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising as it’s known in the US, sees the return of many of the characters from the amusing 2014 original. Has it been worth the wait… or is it just a by-the-numbers-sequel?

    Having shut down the fraternity that moved in next door, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) have had their first child and are preparing to move out of their old house and into a new one. While the money is in escrow, they have thirty days for the new buyers to accept its current condition and move in. Meanwhile, Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) has just started college and is introduced to that strange American tradition of the sorority. Except the sorority is not allowed to party in their own house, by rule of an ancient law. Not happy with this, Shelby sets up her own sorority outside the system which allows girls to party in their own house. With the help of Mac and Kelly’s former nemesis Teddy (Zac Efron), they move into the old fraternity house next door to the couple. Open war is once again declared, as Mac and Kelly attempt to cut off their fun – and weed. But when the girls turn against Teddy, he switches sides…

    Bad Neighbours 2 is an unambitious sequel which essentially gives you more of the same. Whereas some sequels try to be different in an attempt to distinguish them from their predecessors, there’s little attempt to do so here from returning director Nicholas Stoller and his four (!) co-writers, Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. It’s a weak script which relies too heavily on generational differences, with Shelby labelling Mac and Kelly as ‘old people’ with ‘old people phones’ (i.e. with cords – in one of the film’s few great gags). Given all the partying, it’s a wonder any of these girls have time for studying and, you know, graduating and possibly getting a job. As the stakes are upped, Mac and Kelly have to once again resort to devious tactics to get the girls to move out so they can move out too. An airbag once again makes an appearance. But we’ve been here before and it’s not really that funny. More like mild chuckles, rather than laugh-out-loud funny.

    Given that she often plays soulful characters wise beyond her teenage years, it’s fun to watch Moretz play a dumb blonde. She subverts audience expectations about her and shows a good touch for comedy. Maybe next time she could find a script that’s more attuned to her talents. Efron is wasted in a now-secondary role. Looking like he’d rather be somewhere else, doesn’t bring much else to his role this time around. In fact, he seems to have walked straight in from Dirty Grandpa with his character in tow. Stoller tries to inject some liveliness into the story with a chase for some stolen weed, but the story just never really takes off. A very poorly-produced back projection shot of Mac in front of the Sydney Opera House is the finishing touch on this cheap but sadly not cheerful sequel. Bad Neighbours 3 would be really stretching it at this stage. Mediocre nonsense. **

  • emerb

    “Bad Neighbours 2” is a pretty routine follow up to the 2014 Nicholas Stoller comic hit, “Bad Neighbours”. This was a reasonably funny movie featuring a good cast comprising Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco and Zac Efron. It told the story of Seth Rogen​ and Rose Byrne as Mac and Kelly, a couple with a newborn baby who found themselves living next door to a non-stop partying, rowdy fraternity house. The storyline here is very similar to that of the first, this time however, the threat comes from a female sorority. The couple have a second child on the way and are trying to sell their home so they can move to the suburbs. There are buyers for the house but before the deal can go through, Mac and Kelly have to endure a 30-day “escrow” during which with the buyers are within their rights to pull out at any instant. Eager to keep the house tidy and presentable, they watch nervously as a bunch of female students move in next door. They fear that this rowdy group, “Kappa Nu”, is going to be the end of their deal.

    Chloë Grace Moretz plays Shelby, a dope-smoking freshman in her first days at college, who, with her two friends (Kiersey Clemons​ and Beanie Feldstein​), have discovered that their right to party is traditionally in the hands of the fraternities.
    They are not satisfied with this and so decide to strike out on their own. Zac Efron is still the eternal frat boy, a sad-sack in his mid-20s, who hangs out on campus and he is now vengefully “mentoring” the new sorority which has moved in to the house next door to Seth. In the midst of the conflict, he’s forced to switch sides and the antics between both groups form the, often hilarious, basis for the film.

    There are plenty of laughs to be had with this movie, I particularly enjoyed watching the sorority members in tears as they watch “The Fault In Our Stars” for the umpteenth time, and an uproarious slow motion chase scene involving a dustbin bag full of stolen marijuana. There is much inventive and funny comedy to be had with the hard-core pranking coming from both sides, along with endless gags about vomit, poo, and dildos, even used tampons make an appearance. However, it’s a rather patchy sequel lacking in structure and the film
    relies on its bawdy humour to move from one set piece to the next. Moretz is solid but overall, the female characters of Kappa Nu are under developed, some of their pranks are pretty feeble and their dialogue is uninspired. In fact, I thought the best gags came from the older characters while the sorority itself isn’t particularly memorable. I have no doubt in my mind that this film will do well. The gross-out comedy genre always pulls in good numbers, especially around summer time when people want to get out and be entertained. While this movie is certainly no masterpiece, there is some decent material dotted with witty lines, amiable characters and amusing exchanges. Overall, it’s not bad and if you enjoyed the first one, chances are this will be right down your alley. Personally, I enjoyed that it was easy to watch, laid back and didn’t take itself too seriously
    – sometimes that’s just what you feel like. Having said that, I think “Bad Neighbours 3” would be a step too far!