Seth Rogen, and his not-so-unique brand of crude hipster-humor, is back again with Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, the second in his line of illegitimate Animal House grand-children. I’m sure there must be an audience out there this brand of college themed debauchery – and they are welcome to it – but if you have outgrown vomit, poop, menstruation and roofie jokes then you’ll probably want to pass on this film.
In case you haven’t guessed, I’m not a fan of Rogen and his filmmaking corroborator Evan Goldberg (although I do have high hopes for their upcoming Preacher TV series.) Beyond their irreverent style there is typically an air of smugness to their material that just rubs me the wrong way – as is the case with this latest effort.
Most of the frat boys from the first Neighbors film have grown up and moved on with their lives, except for Teddy (Zac Efron), who is still trying to live the fraternity lifestyle he loves, mooching off his old friends and partying.
Meanwhile Mac (Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) are having a second baby and need to transition to a bigger and better home. Their old house is in escrow and as long as nothing goes wrong in the next 30 days they’ll be able to make their big move.
At the local college, a band of girls, including Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein), are having trouble fitting into their sorority (run by Selena Gomez as the Phi Lamda President) because the organization doesn’t allow partying or drugs. So Shelby’s girls decide to start their own organization, “Kappa Nu,” in the vacant house next to the Radner’s.
Teddy, looking for purpose in his life, helps the Kappa Nu girls get their party-place up and running and in the process butts heads with Mac and Kelly once again, until he is cast out by the sorority and joins forces with his former rivals to get rid of the nasty new neighbors.
Sorority Rising also has awkward and unfunny cameos by Lisa Kudrow, once again as the local university dean; Dave Franco as Teddy’s frat friend, Pete, who is now a gay grown-up getting married; and Kelsey Grammer as Shelby’s empty-nest father.
Directed (again) by Nicholas Stoller, this is mostly just a half-hearted retread of the first movie with annoying college-kids fighting with equally annoying adults. They run the original film’s infamous air-bag gag into the ground (and note to Rogen, Goldberg and Stoller: air-bags don’t work by jumping on them – do a little research, Dudes.)
As much as I disliked this film, with its gross-out and drug-laced humor, it does have a small handful of hilarious moments, and even a decent, although very clouded (in a haze of marijuana smoke), message; but in the end, there’s certainly no rush to join this sorority. Grade: 3/10
Photos © Universal Pictures