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Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

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Score: 2/10

Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.

Release Date: May 20th, 2016 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Nicholas Stoller Actors: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Kiersey Clemons, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Beanie Feldstein, Clara Mamet, Selena Gomez, Awkwafina, Lisa Kudrow

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ot long after resolving their issues with the Delta Psi Beta fraternity and its devious leader Teddy (Zac Efron), Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) agree to move to a bigger house in anticipation of their new baby girl. But after they enter into a thirty-day escrow on the sale of their old house, the Kappa Nu sorority takes up residence next door. Afraid that the rowdy group will scare off their buyers, the couple initially tries to reason with leaders Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons), and Nora (Beanie Feldstein), before soon realizing that their problems explicitly echo the previous conflict. As Mac and Kelly attempt to get the girls evicted, and Kappa Nu fights back to stay put, both sides engage in a free-for-all of lying, cheating, and stealing that quickly forces everyone involved to decide just how far they’re willing to go to win.

It all begins with awkward intercourse and queasy stomachs, wielding the exact same bodily-fluid humor found in the previous picture. It’s even more extreme, however, as sex toys, marijuana paraphernalia, colorful cursing, and the exclamation “black cock!” is paraded about in front of the Radner’s toddler. Since “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” is aiming for laughs through shock value alone, it’s not surprising that nearly every scene is cringe-inducing, like a moment from a torture-porn horror movie. This feature dares audiences not to look away from the repulsiveness onscreen, hoping that they’ll find the gross-out gags to be enough of a bombshell to distract from the utter lack of genuine humor.

And if the graphic male nudity, tampon prank, and bedbug caper aren’t enough to provoke people into covering their eyes in fear, the depiction of friendless, uncool college girls might just do the trick. Essentially blending preteen, juvenile, sleepover party frolicking (showcasing the sincerity of a Barbie movie) with the hard R-rating of a raunchy adult comedy, this movie never really knows in what age group its target audience ought to reside. With a major sexism motif circulating around all the race jokes (the role reversal of prejudicial black cops violently apprehending white crooks prior to taking it easy on black drug dealers is the funniest routine in the entire project), the religion jabs, and the Holocaust riffs, it’s difficult to peg whether or not the movie is even aware of the messages being delivered. Young versus old and the naive versus the experienced seem like worthwhile contrasts, but the script never focuses on one idea long enough to land a memorable line. It does, however, repeat the same slapstick gimmicks over and over again, completely uninterested in their effectiveness the first time around.

It may have been a novel idea to switch from a fraternity to a sorority for this sequel, enabling the filmmakers to repeat nearly everything witnessed in the original but from a slightly different perspective; but the basic concept is never fleshed out to the point that it develops into a significant plot. In fact, the funniest moments are the unrelated, extraneous conversations that fill up space between physical actions. Just like the previous endeavor, returning director Nicholas Stoller is more concerned with making viewers momentarily uncomfortable than in crafting a movie that can be remembered beyond the start of the closing credits.

– The Massie Twins

 



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