It's hard to believe that it has been 2 years since Universal Pictures released the R rated comedy Neighbors. Since I liked the original flick quite a bit--my expectations for "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" going in-were perhaps a bit higher than they would have otherwise been. How does the sequel measure up?
As the film opens we find out that Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are expecting a second child. With the family about to grow--the couple decide that they are ready to make the final move into adulthood: the suburbs. But just as they thought they’d reclaimed the neighborhood and it was safe to sell, they learn that the new occupants next door are a sorority even more out of control than Teddy (Zac Efron) and his brothers ever were.
Tired of their school’s sexist, restrictive Greek system, the unorthodox ladies of Kappa Nu have decided to start a house where they can do whatever they want. When Shelby (Chloe Moretz) and her sisters, Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein), find the perfect place just off campus, they won’t let the fact that it’s located on a quiet street stand in their way of parties as epic as the guys throw.
After Teddy's best friend Pete (Dave Franco) gets engaged--he finds himself homeless-striking a deal with the Nu girls for a place to live in exchange for his expertise on how to work the system. The Radner's are desperate to ensure that their home sells without any problem. Easier said than done. Soon though Teddy is given the boot by the gals and he switches sides as a secret weapon for Mac and Kelly...
Once again the original film's director Nicholas Stoller as well as writers Brendan O'Brien and Andrew Cohen return to steer the festivities. Rogen, his pal Evan Goldberg and Stoller helped out with the script this time. As before, (mostly) everything works. The film is light on it's feet and very raunchy fun.
Efron's comedic muscles continue to flex with a turn in the adult laugh-fest Dirty Grandpa as well as the upcoming Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and next year's Baywatch movie. It remains to be seen whether or not those not yet released movies portend that this is a good career trend for him. So far so good. He has shed his teen beginnings and High School Musical for sure.
The filmmakers know what worked before and didn't really change the recipe--the entire cast works well with each other. Happily the Radner's best friends Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) and Paula (Carla Gallo) are given a bit more to do here. The newbies Moretz Clemons and Feldstein make fine additions. As leader Shellby--Moretz is just great! Characters we like and care about is the film's secret weapon amid all of the f-bombs and airbag gags.
Neighbors 2 is that rare comedy sequel that works out very well--that said--I hope the team thinks long and hard before making a third one...