Magazine article Screen International

'Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising': Review

Article excerpt

Dir: Nicholas Stoller. US, 2016, 92 mins

Holding out the promise of guilty low-brow pleasure - a collision of Bad Neighbors with Pitch Perfect, marrying both viewing demographics in box office harmony - Neighbors: Sorority Rising turns out to be an uneasy watch, awash with unconvincing performances, unfunny stereotypes, and dubious gross-out gags. Its chief pleasure turns out to be Zac Efron, who delivers a sweet-natured turn as ageing dim-wat, little-frat-boy-lost Teddy, back from the original film to torment Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne again as they try to sell their house.

Efron delivers another mostly shirt-less performance, but the actor's abilities as a physical comedian generate some of the film's laugh-out-loud sequences. Opening in the UK and selected European territories this weekend before a May 20 US launch, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising may be challenged to match the $150m domestic tally of the original, but should rustle up good business on VOD and in the inevitable boxed-set.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is blinkered in its focus on being provocative on all fronts, an equal-opportunity bad-taste offender. Thus it delivers gags which include toddlers who carry dildos around as toys, sorority sisters who deploy used tampons as weapons, and feeble Jewish jokes which come out of nowhere to die excruciatingly onscreen (if you're going to make a joke about ovens, it should at the very least be funny). It delivers a half-hearted stab at female empowerment by establishing a "house of united women" sorority Kappa Nu to move into Teddy's old frat-house, but makes them even more stupid than Tedddy, who can at least count. Even worse, they're a little dull.

The film starts out promisingly, with Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) discovering the hard way that they are about to have a second child. They're selling their house to a mixed-race couple, who have a 30-day escrow period in which to pull out. Meanwhile, Teddy is having a "quarter-life crisis". His employers at Abercrombie & Fitch are insisting he covers his still-ripped abs, and his Delta Psi best friend and room-mate Pete (Dave Franco) is about to be married - to a man - and wants him to move out. …

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