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Movie Review: Bad Neighbours 2

By Edited May 29, 2016 2 5

Certificate 15, 92 minutes

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Stars: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron

Bad Neighbours 2 (also known as Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) is the sequel to Bad Neighbours (also known as Neighbors; the difference is due to Neighbours also being the name of an Australian soap opera, a potential source of confusion). Mac Radner (Seth Rogen, The Interview, This Is the End) and his wife Kelly (Rose Byrne, The Internship, X-Men: Apocalypse) are now expecting their second child, and as a consequence put their house on the market. A deal is agreed, and their house is sold - subject to escrow. They had been informed of this on several occasions, but from all the evidence had never understood what that means. There are now 30 days in which the new buyers can conduct surveys of the house, and pop round any time they want. If they see or find anything they don't like, they can pull out of the sale. What's worse is that the Radners' new house isn't subject to escrow, so they could wind up having to buy a house when their own isn't sold, resulting in them owning two houses, quickly followed by no houses.

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Bad Neighbours 2
Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz) has just entered college and joined the Phi Lambda sorority. She is upset to discover that sororities cannot hold parties on their own properties, unlike fraternities, and that there are rather strong regulations against smoking weed in both the sorority house an in the dorms. If sororities want to party, they have to go to frat houses. Frat houses are populated by teenage boys, and teenage boys largely have one thing on their mind, so their parties are more than a little sexist. Shelby, and two friends she met at the frat party, Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein), decide to set up their own sorority, Kappa Nu, and throw the sorts of parties they want to enjoy, without having to pander to the wishes of the fraternities.

Teddy (Zac Efron), the Radners' nemesis from the first film, is having problems. He still has friends, but they've all grown up and got proper jobs; Teddy's boss is now quite a bit younger than him (he also got a criminal record thanks to the Radners, and this has made getting decent jobs hard). Darren (John Early), the boyfriend of Teddy's best friend Pete (Dave Franco, Now You See Me, Unfinished Business) - yes, Pete is apparently gay - proposes to Pete and he accepts. Pete then asks if Teddy can move out of the house, because they are now engaged. Teddy, rather distraught, goes for a run and ends up back at the old fraternity house next to Mac and Kelly.

This house is currently up for rent, and Shelby, Beth and Nora are looking around it with the intention of renting it for their new sorority. When Teddy speaks to the girls, and hears what they want to do, he decides to mentor them and tell them how to set up a successful sorority. Mac and Kelly are naturally not ecstatic about finding out a sorority is moving into the house next door whilst they are in escrow, risking their sale. They initially ask the girls to keep quiet, just for 30 days, but Kappa Nu has been set up so that the girls don't have to bend to the whims of others any longer, and they aren't interested.

After appeals to Shelby's father (Kelsey Grammer, Transformers: Age of Extinction) and the Dean (Lisa Kudrow) both fail (the Dean in particular being useless), they decide to take matters into their own hands. Again. After the girls ask Teddy to leave the sorority too - because he's too old, and disagreed with some of their ideas - he decides that he was on the wrong side all along, and joins the other 'old people' in trying to stop the sorority and getting them to shut down. the girls have a fairly large rental bill every month - $5,000! - and if they can't fill this, they are going to be out of a house. Raising money is therefore a bit of a problem, and Teddy and the others try to sabotage this when possible. Thus ensues a war between all parties, the sorority and the 'old people.' Which now includes Teddy, who is in his mid-twenties.

The humour in this film is often crude, occasionally gross, sometimes sexual in nature - on occasion, it goes a bit too far really - and there is constant foul language and quite a bit of violence. The violence is all of the slapstick kind, in which nobody gets hurt, and there are some good, if perhaps crude, one-liners. Although, if done in real life, there would have been serious injuries. Definitely a 'don't try this at home' situation. The violence doesn't always look real, but doesn't look anywhere near as bad as a rather crudely edited scene showing Seth Rogen at another location. Of the fraternity members from the first film, only Teddy has much of a role in the film. The others, including Pete, are all just background elements now. The primary interactions are between the still rather immature Teddy (even if he is being classed as too old by Shelby and the others), the Radners and Shelby, with the friends of the Radners and Shelby being important to a lesser extent.

There are extensive references to 'weed' - which is hardly uncommon in Seth Rogen movies. Oddly, although weed is seen, handled and spoken about, it is very rarely used. Shelby lights up during the Phi Lambda initiation and that's pretty much it. This is perhaps why the certification referred to 'drug misuse' not 'drug use.' Behind all the violence, crude humour and bad language in the film is a message about friendship, and how that is probably the most important thing in life. No matter how circumstances change, you should always stay friends with each other, with true friends being there for life. This message is disguised by all the mayhem going on before it, but it is there. Bad Neighbours 2 is exactly the sort of film that it is expected to be, and it certainly isn't family friendly and some may well find it offensive, but it does what it intended to, no more, no less.
Bad Neighbours 2 egdcltd 2016-05-26 3.5 0 5
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
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May 27, 2016 8:03pm
You did a great job on the review. Being the Seth Rogen fan that I am, I've been wanting to see this movie. Comedies are my favorite genre. The fact that you mentioned this isn't a family appropriate movie was very considerate. Thank you!
May 29, 2016 8:18am
Thanks! I'm fond of Seth Rogen myself, although I sometimes think his earlier work was more consistently funny.
Jun 13, 2016 5:04pm
I am really gonna see this movie! No doubt
Jun 14, 2016 9:19am
Hope you enjoy it!
Jun 26, 2016 3:48am
Very nice movie
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