Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ike Barinholtz, Kiersey Clemons, Beanie Feldstein
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Written by: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Length: 1 hour 32 minutes
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Around the time that Neighbors was released, Rolling Stone magazine interviewed Seth Rogen. Buried at the end of the article was a comment made by Rogen that shined a light on how backwards Hollywood still regards women.
[Neighbors] was a first for him, in that it portrayed a relationship where his partner – in this case played by Rose Byrne – was truly a partner, as funny and irresponsible and important to the plot as Rogen was. “It was very gratifying,” he says. “There were so many discussions with the studio where they were like, ‘Can’t you, like, sneak out, and then she gets mad?’ And it’s like, ‘No! That’s the whole fucking point! It can’t be that.’?”
I am wondering when he started working on the sequel to Neighbors, if those comments fed into the plot of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. The trailers do not do the movie justice. When I watched them, I thought it was going to be “girls gone wild” with a sorority moving in next to the same couple played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne. The couple sold their house and are in escrow, which they do not understand. In a hilarious scene where their realtor tries to explain it to them, they learn the buyers have 30 days to back out of the sale. The sorority moving into the house next door soon after they are in escrow does not help their situation.
Not Girls Gone Wild
The twist is that even though the girls want to party, they want to do it on their own terms. They are not looking to hook up with guys, hold wet t-shirt contests, or twirl on a stripper pole. Three college freshman learn that sororities can’t throw parties, which is a fact. The girls think it is unfair that only fraternities can throw parties, especially after visiting one of these parties and describing it as definitely having a “rapey-vibe”. They form their own sorority off campus so they can throw their own kind of parties — where they wear what they want, drink what they want (and know what’s in said drink), and basically feel safe.
While the parties do not have a “girls gone wild” vibe, they are still loud enough to scare the neighbors. The girls really do not know how to run a sorority so that is where Teddy gets to shine. He’s lost since the end of the last movie as all his friends have grown up into real jobs and are getting married, while he has no idea what to do with his life. Teddy stumbles into his old frat house and offers to help the girls set up their sorority. In return, the girls point out how many sexist things go on in frats and life in general.
All this might sound a little too serious, but it is all funny. The humor is smart, dumb, and physical. Many jokes revolve around the neighbors and Teddy being old. Seth Rogen does his mumbling thing where it sounds like he ad-libbed a line that always makes me laugh. I found Chloe Grace Moretz tolerable here, and I am usually not a fan of her as an actress. I did not expect to laugh so much at a comedy sequel since they are usually a retread of the same jokes, but these were different enough that I was amused throughout. Most importantly, Zac Ephron was shirtless for a good portion of the movie.