Movie Reviews

It Ain’t Broke (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Review)

Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa Nu move in next door. As the loud parties threaten the sale of their home, the couple turn to ex-neighbor and one-time enemy Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) for help. Now united with the former college student, the trio devises schemes to get the wild sorority off the block. Unfortunately, the rebellious young women refuse to go down without a fight.

I was a big fan of the first Neighbors film and I kind of just assumed the series would be over then. When they announced they were making a sequel 2 years after the first film, I was a little skeptical because I had no idea where this film would go. I was afraid of it being too much of a rehash of the previous film, the trailers did not sway this for me as it appeared too similar to the previous film. I continued with it anyway because I am still a fan of everyone involved.

At first glance, the sequel does have a lot of similarities to the first film. Mac Radner (Rogen) and his wife Kelly (Byrne) still live in the same house alongside their daughter Stella (Elise/Zoey Vargas). In the first film, they had to deal with a fraternity in the house next door, led by Teddy Sanders  (Efron). They had to get rid of them because they were trying to raise their newborn daughter Stella. Now they must deal with a new set of unruly neighbors in the form of a sorority, led by a trio of girls named Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz), Nora (Beanie Feldstein), and Beth (Kiersey Clemons). They don’t necessarily have to get rid of them, they just need them to calm things down until they get their house sold. Not exactly the same but very similar. While the film sounds like a rehash of the first film, it still kind of is but there is a lot more going on this time around. Whether or not this justifies another film remains to be seen.

In order to change things up a little, the film attempted to give the other characters a little more development by giving them their own arcs. We kind of already know what is happening with Mac and Kelly, the film tries to flesh out the other characters a little more than perhaps the first film did. The film tried to humanize the sorority, more specifically the three main girls, by giving us a glimpse of their lives up to the point where they created their own sorority and then moving in next door to the Radners. They were just tired of the blatant sexism and misogyny within the frat system. The film attempted to speak to the subject of inequality but may not have gone about it the right way by using frat stereotypes in order to prove their point. Even though their intentions were a little flawed, you still kind of feel bad for them.

The arcs did not end there as the film also had to fill us in on what’s happen to Teddy since the first film. He’s stuck in a rut where all his past fraternity brothers have moved on with their lives, leaving him feeling left behind. It was definitely nice to see them here but they should have been there a little longer. After being kicked out of his best friend Pete’s (Dave Franco) apartment, Teddy is looking for purpose and to be valued. This quest leads him from the sorority to joining forces with Mac and Kelly. His arc was interesting albeit predictable. However, it felt a little overshadowed by Mac and Kelly and the sorority subplots.

Seeing that this is a Neighbors film, there are definitely antics here. If you saw the previous films, you kind of had an idea of what to expect so what happened this time around did not come as much of a surprise. It’s not that they were bad, at most they were just as good as the previous film. This humor worked for the most part but there were still a few moments which didn’t quite work. The story was also pretty predictable which led to some forced moments near the end but it was okay. The acting was also good here with the chemistry between Rogen and Efron being the driving force here. They were still fun to watch here.

Overall, this was a great, unexpected sequel continuing with the formula from the first film while bringing a lot of new stuff to the table.

Score: 8/10

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