Friday, May 20, 2016

Review: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

                      'Neighbors 2' Provides Double The Trouble

          While I really enjoyed this sequel, I will already suggest stopping right here because the series as of right now is fine as it is.
     Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising continues the story of Kelly and Mac Radnor (Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen) who are about to have their second child and are looking to move out of their neighborhood. However, they just wait thirty days so that the couple planning to move in can continue to inspect it and unfortunately for them, a sorority, led by its sinister president Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), moved next door.

      First off, the returning actors (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron) are as good as they were in the first film. Although Rose Byrne, who I thought was the MVP of the first film, isn't given as much to do this time around, she was still great in the material she was given. Lisa Kudrow, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, and Carla Gallo also make a return and they were great as well. Chloe Grace Moretz proves why she is one of the most interesting young actresses working today as she showcases devilishly comedic timing as Shelby, the sorority president.

      While the first film was a coming of age story of sorts with the main characters dealing with the struggle of growing up, the sequel delves into the theme of moving away from the past. Both Kelly and Mac have grown out of wanting to be invited back in the party like they did in the first one while Shelby starts her own sorority to avoid reliving high school where she was lonely without much friends.

      The film even interestingly explores sexism within the Greek system with how sororities apparently aren't allowed to throw parties unlike fraternities. I don't know if that is 100% true because I've never been a part of a fraternity. But regardless, it was interesting to explore that.

     I also want to give the film bonus points for its diversity. It has a lot more women this time around and even women of color thanks to Selena Gomez making a cameo and the inclusion of Dope's Kiersey Clemons who plays a member of Shelby's sorority. They even have Dave Franco's character come out as gay which was out of left field but still allowed more representation amongst its set of characters.

     While there are some funny jokes poking at sexism, to me, as they went on, they began to get a little too on-the-nose. Also, the end climax became a bit of a copout and seemed pretty rushed. It wasn't as exciting as the climax in the first one.

     Overall, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is a worthy successor to the first installment that recaptures the same magic thanks to its cast while incorporating fresher jokes and newer thematic material.

Grade: B+