Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

neighbors 2Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising – 3.5/5 – There is something to be said about comedy sequels.  Minus a few exceptions (22 Jump Street); they mostly suck.  Why do most comedy sequels suck?  There is no sense to create something original, refreshing or different in the comedic department.  Most of these tend to gravitate to what made the first wonderful; creating something lethargic.  Comedy films are built upon the idea to make you laugh.  If you don’t do that, the film will ultimately fail.  Neighbors 2 is a comedy sequel that provides enough laughs and some new inclusions that make it fun to watch.

Premise:  When a Sorority decides to move next door; Mac and Kelly must team up with Teddy to bring the girls down.

The whole cast from the first film returns; the big players from the first are:

Seth Rogen as Mac Radner

Rose Byrne as Kelly Radner

Zac Efron as Teddy Sanders

These three pick up where they left off.  As this film is a continuation of their lives; there is a seamless transition back into their world.  These three do a good job in enveloping us back into their characters.  They show off the obnoxious, over-the-top and quirky dynamic that made them enjoyable from before.  With a new ‘threat’; it throws another odd wrench into their relationships.  This creates a place for these three to have unique and charming confrontations.  Being a comedy film, there is no real reason to see anything deep in characterization.  Even so, it is good to see these characters’ progress on screen.  You see an evolution in thought and personality, helping fuel the new confrontation with the sorority that moves in next door.  When it comes to the new comers; they come in the form of the girls in the sorority.  Leading the group of girls, you have:

Cloe Grace Moretz as Shelby

Being the newcomer to the cast, Moretz does a great job in providing something new, unique and refreshing with being the leader of the sorority.  Creating someone that is not brash, pompous or party hardy like Efron’s Teddy, she provides us with a college girl that is the typical ‘outcast’.  This helps fuel her personal distrust for authority and the neighbors next door (Mac and Kelly); adding to the wild situations that occur.  This adds to the depth of the awkward and clashing relationship with the returning cast.  With the rest of the cast (including the returners), it all mimics the common threads of a comedy.  There are many basic archetypes that are used again from the first film.  Even if this doesn’t add any value, some of the ‘copycat’ flavor actually helps provide cohesion for the story.

The direction goes along the same beating path as the first.  It provides us with an introduction back to all the characters of the first film; while also introducing us to the newcomers.  It doesn’t take a long time to do this, while moving into the next phase of providing the plot points for the premise.  Within the first act, we get introduced to the new situation that develops for the Radner family.  It has been a couple years and Mac and Kelly are attempting to sell their house.  While doing so, a Sorority (lead by Shelby) decide to move in next door.   After a few basic plot device elements are plugged in, the conflict between the Sorority and the Radner ensues.  From here, the movie goes along a very fast pace.  This leaves not a lot of time to wonder ‘what’ and ‘why’ things occur; leaving situations to build through the style of the ad-live and physical humor.  This helps take the focus away from the basic plot; leaving you with a window into the reasons of both sides of the fight.  Even if there is an ‘overall’ rehashing feeling; it is the comedy that does a great job in providing something ‘different’.  With the added value of strong themes of ‘equality, old vs. new and individualism’; the film has a very ‘moving forward’ progression.  The added themes help provide something new while blending in some of the obvious ‘pranks’ and ‘reoccurring’ plot devices of the first film.  You get some really funny dialogue and thematic comedic scenarios, but also a ‘copycat’ style method of showing new humor by using old techniques.  With the added mixture of things from other ‘prank style’ films (including the first), there is enough laughter to be had.  This happens because of the familiar dynamic between Mac, Kelly and Teddy paralleling with the confrontation between the trio and Shelby’s group of girls.  Even with a lot of the great elements, there is still the same kind of wheel turning that brings about the ‘do you remember’ cliché.  This might drown out some jokes, but not the overall allure of the film.  Once you get through the first two acts; you end up in a situation that leads the film down an unpredictable path.  There is the ‘ultimate’ confrontation with the aspect of a party scene; but this leads to a different outcome.  Instead of just rehashing the same kind of climax, the direction plays to the character’s current situational standings.  When everything hits a boiling point, each of them faces a mirror of self-reflection.  This provides something deeper (in a sense), but helps move it beyond just being another sequel.  Once the film hits its epilogue, there might be a sense of a quick conclusion, but it is enough to show that the story here has wrapped up.

The visuals aren’t as valuable like most genres.  Being a comedy; there is a reliance within the methods of the direction and styling of humor.  The setting is basic, helping keep the focus on the characters.  The score helps add some fuel to the ‘funny’ fire; but it doesn’t add anything much more than that.

Neighbors 2 is a comedy sequel that does enough to stand strong on its own merits.  Providing a mixture of new and old material; there is enough here for a fun laughing experience.  If you’re a fan of the first film and like comedies, this is one for you.  It is worth the weekend outings; enough laughs for you and your friends.

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