Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is one of those comedy sequels that exists simply because the first made a lot of money. There’s absolutely no other reason for this film to exist than in an attempt to make more money for the studio.
That’s not to say it’s not funny (it is, sometimes ridiculously so). But, while the first film felt incredibly fresh (30-something couple with a newborn struggle with getting “old” – compared to the college-aged fraternity that ends up moving in next door to them), “2” feels forced and desperate.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne return as Mac and Kelly Radner. The house next door sits empty and they are in the process of buying a new home. Of course there’s a catch. The buyers of their place have 30 days to back out should anything go wrong. And what goes wrong is that a sorority, with the express desire to party, moves in – all under the tutelage of Zac Efron‘s Teddy Sanders (the frat nemesis from “1”).
The girls, led by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), want to be able to do what the guys in the frats do: party, smoke weed, party more, drink, party, repeat. Their motivations are about as simplified as the girls’ characterizations’ are.
Efron’s Teddy comes out the best in the end. Teddy is the only one of his frat buddies to not move on, something he blames on his conviction from the events in “1.” He only wants acceptance and love and he ping pongs between his former frat bro Pete (Dave Franco), whose engagement prompts him to revisit the old frat house and to help grow the seeds of the girls’ sorority dreams. He soon finds himself cast out there as well, turning to the last people who will have him: Mac and Kelly.
From there a battle of wills between the “adults” and the “kids” breaks out with predictable, but amusing results. Kudos to the cast and director Nicholas Stoller for keeping things chugging along even though the script feels uninspired.
Opening box-office was extremely light (not quite $22 million compared to the original’s opening of nearly $50 million), so another sequel is most likely out of the question. Which is just as well, quite frankly.