Aug 27, 2018

[Movies] Bad Neighbours 2 (2016) Review

The first (Bad) Neighbours movie was an odd comedic experience that quirky fun but not the sort of movie you'd like name as one of your favorite movies of all time or anything like that. Not that the movie even pretended to be anything beyond what it offered - a silly good time.

What I was not expecting was a sequel for this sort of thing since it didn't strike me as being amazingly funny but I guess the studios thought otherwise. And so we have Neighbors 2/Bad Neighbours 2 as the continuation of their story because why not, right?

I suppose it makes sense on paper in terms of the big name actors involved and whatever projections are associated with them being in a movie, especially several of them in a movie together. Or maybe the movies are just so much cheaper to make and yield good returns, thus the sequel was confirmed.

Because this was not a great movie.

Synopsis: Bad Neighbours 2/Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is a 2016 American comedy movie directed by Nicholas Stoller. He also co-wrote the screenplay together with Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O'Brien, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen.

Some two years after the events of the first movie, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are busy trying to sell their house in anticipation of a new addition to their family. An offer is finally made and that means they've entered the escrow period of the sale where the buyers have 30 days to continue to evaluate the house before everything is confirmed as final.

Things seem to go well until Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) decide to create their own sorority since the odd practice is that sororities can't host parties and instead they have to attend frat parties instead. So they end up crossing paths with Teddy (Zac Efron) from the first movie and he offers to help them figure out how to rent the property next to Mac and Kelly for their sorority. All this is part of an effort on his part to feel like he has useful skills as everyone else in his old group has moved on in life.

What I Liked: The movie still has its funny bits, that's not to be denied. Rogen and Bryne have a pretty solid camaraderie that really helps things along in this sequel. They two make a believable pair who could go to crazy lengths to get what they want, even if it means trying to make life difficult for a fledgling sorority house.

Moretz was an interesting addition to the mix and she has a particular intensity that makes it believable that she too can be pretty devious in order to get things done. At the very least the depiction of the sorority being composed of some pretty smart or at least clever individuals felt like a honest effort to show girls are more than guys can give them credit for. And some of those party ideas were pretty funny.

What Could Have Been Better: The movie really sticks to the "formula" of the first one pretty closely and so you have Mac and Kelly once again stressed out how to deal with the noisy kids next door and their friends, particularly Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz), continue to offer really stupid support. And that really made this movie feel more and more like a blatant cash grab attempt instead of seriously wanting to make a good movie.

I particularly feel  bad for Zac Efron in this movie as it seems they had more or less found a way to make his character be even dumber than he had been in the first movie. His motivations were just all over the place and this contributions to the movie largely reduced to very blatant (yet limited) eye candy. On the whole it felt like they didn't even need to get him involved in this sequel but had tacked him on to draw more movie goers.

TL;DR: Bad Neighbours 2 is a decent sequel but one that definitely sticks to the tropes and form of the first movie more than anything else. If you really enjoyed the first movie then this movie should be an okay follow-up if you already have Netflix. Thus it gets a fair 2.5 efforts to show the sorority is not like other sororities by showing it's more like a traditional fraternity out of a possible 5.


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