Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Two years ago, I reviewed “Neighbors,” which I thought was a hilarious comedy featuring a couple, Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne), trying to get rid of their next door neighbors — a wild fraternity run by Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron). The scenarios and shenanigans that these two warring factions got into was fresh and laugh-out-loud funny. It was the “old” couple versus young college kids.
So, when I heard that “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” was coming out with the same cast and same director (Nicholas Stoller), I assumed (incorrectly) that it would be the same recipe for success.
When following a recipe you’ve made before, you can anticipate what’s coming next. Consequently, the narrative of a film following a recipe becomes dull due to a lack of surprise. “Neighbors 2” picks up a few years after the original movie took place; Teddy’s fraternity brothers are all grown up, yet Teddy is still working retail at Abercrombie and Fitch while Mac and Kelly are now expecting their second child.
With their growing family, the Radners have put their home on the market and have found a prospective buyer — an interracial family who have fallen in love with the Radners’ home / neighborhood and made an offer. There is one catch: The house is in escrow. If you don’t know what the means, it’s completely OK because the Radner’s didn’t either. A house that’s in escrow gives the prospective buyer 30 days to perform inspections and affords them the option of backing out if anything were to happen or be discovered …
Do you smell this familiar recipe?
We are promptly introduced to Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons), and Maranda (Clara Mamet), three freshman girls who are fed up with the sexist, demeaning fraternity / sorority scene. They stumble upon Teddy, who feels a sense of worth again as he’s tapped to help the girls run their own Greek establishment. The girls start their own sorority in Teddy’s old frat house, and now the Radners have to once again go to war to get rid of their pesky neighbors. It’s the “old” couple versus the young (female) college kids. If that previous sentence sounds repetitive, it’s because you already read it already in the first paragraph. See how drab recipes and repetition can be?
The duel is too familiar, and although there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, the narrative is exhausting. We already know what’s about to happen because we saw it in Part 1! Throw us a curveball or something. Mix it up … please! For this reason, the movie is not a successful follow-up to its predecessor. There are some laughs to be had, but a lot of comedic value is lost as there is nothing less funny than punchlines you can anticipate.