Despite enjoying the first Neighbors far more than I expected, I found myself entering the sequel with fairly low expectations. How good can a comedy sequel be, right?

But just as with the first one, you rarely go more than a few minutes without a solid laugh.3-5stars Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne star as Mac and Kelly Radner, the squaresville older couple (and by older, I mean in their 30s) who still live next door to the frat house where Zac Efron, Dave Franco and their crew terrorized them in the first movie.

But the Radner clan is growing, and the movie opens with Kelly pregnant and the family deciding to sell the home and get a new place with more space. Meanwhile, the frat boys from the first movie have all graduated, and some are having an easier time of it than others. Dave Franco and some of the other guys are settling into careers and starting families of their own, but for Zac Efron’s Teddy Sanders, college was the greatest time of his life, and he doesn’t want to let it go.

Enter Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her friends, who move into the house and decide to start a sorority of their own after the politically correct campus sororities reject them and their stereotypical alcohol-, drug- and sex-fueled idea of college life. The Radners find a family to buy their home, and only have to surpass a 30-day escrow period for the sale to go through. But wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly when the wild sorority sisters move in next door, guided by the evil genius Teddy Sanders, whose only real skill is partying.

There are alliances and double-crossing and outlandish plots hatched from both sides of the fence. In the midst of all the hijinks, the movie manages to say something about growing up, getting older and gender double standards, all in way that actually makes you think, if you can stop laughing long enough.

Without giving anything away, there is also a rare portrayal of a close friendship between a straight man and a gay man. Despite being a comedy, this dynamic is not played strictly for laughs. There are genuine moments of understanding and growth in the characters, and there are so few examples like this in movies, this is a surprising place to find it, which makes it more impressive.

 

Title Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Director Nicholas Stoller
Runtime 92 min
Starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron
Writer Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Production Good Universe
Point Grey Pictures
Advertisements