Lee, Maria and Shane review comedy sequel Bad Neighbours 2 (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising).
A concept, usually applied to literature, is that of “critical fiction”. These are works that, when done well, usually challenge modern thinking through the medium of pulp storytelling. A good general example would be Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” – a relatively popular book with a relatively conventional mystery-adventure story, guising a challenge to the popular thinking on the life of Mary Magdalene and her importance in the Christian Bible. Perhaps not the most relevant, interesting or even well-handled challenge, but it got its points out there thanks mostly to its incredibly accessible format.
“Bad Neighbours 2” (or “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” for those Americans who prefer infinitely worse titles) might not be looking to shake up theology or anything quite so grand, but beneath its shell of gross-out humour and pot jokes that are sure to get the kids talking lies a film willing to approach important issues with the young adults of today with a critical eye and a respectful outlook. Parenting, sexism, feminism, homosexuality and its challenges, adulthood, responsibility, home ownership, self-determination and perception of worth and how it affects a person, among many other topics, are approached with a relaxed, modern attitude that could easily win over the on-looking crowds.
Good messages do not equate a good film alone however, so it helps that the incredibly likeable and relatable cast from the original Bad Neighbours return for another run. Sure, they’re not as funny as when we first met them. Sure, it feels like the incredible couple of Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne take more of a backseat to Zac Efron this time around which is a little bit of a shame. And sure, it sucks that Zac Efron’s college friends were much funnier than Chloë Grace Moretz’s college friends, and that some of the gags are recycled to middling returns, and the attempts to up the gross factor don’t really gel with the overall tone of the movie and seem more forced than necessary. But the cast do still have a lot of great chemistry, and there are still a lot of great, genuinely funny moments between them.
We get a genuine story arc for Efron’s character, which is great, and makes the film feel like a necessary continuation with these characters’ story more than a shoehorned addition to a successful one-off. The parenting saga for Rogen and Byrne’s characters is also incredibly funny and sweet and just the kind of thing we wanted to see after the first story ended. And the resolution to the plot is both hilarious and surprisingly simple, but doesn’t come with that sense of aggravation you would expect from such a contrivance.
It has its drawbacks, and it’s certainly better to view with brain switched on low, but Bad Neighbours 2 comes with a solid recommendation. It works as critical fiction, it works as a cute story, it even mostly works as a comedy. It’ll be dated within a year or two though, so get watching.
Awww yisss, I loved this film. I didn’t adore it like the first one but I was so happy to sit and pretend for 2 hours that I was Seth Rogan and Rose Byrnes friend and we got up to crazy shenanigans while watching topless Zac Efron question his self-worth. Quality.
I thought the puke/poop jokes etc were a bit shit and the film opens with two so that didn’t set a great tone. It starts to get back into its natural rhythm after a while and everything becomes funny again.
Zac Efron is an absolute gem to behold, surprisingly one of my favourite comedy actors – I can’t wait for him in Baywatch due to his… …. … comedic genius. He gets a nice storyline too which was definitely needed since the crap end of the last film. Dave Franco is the most endearing gay man ever and it was a great and thoroughly enjoyable twist.
I sighed with all the pot jokes, I mean c’mon Seth Rogan, WE KNOW YOU LIKE WEED, stop putting it in all your films! It becoming worse than Tim Burton’s obsession with Johnny Depp.
Also just generally felt like a cop out for what could have been a better plot point that didn’t revolve again around ‘let’s get all the weed.’
As for Seth’s general acting he was grand, exactly what you’d expect. Rose Byrne is amazing and is everything I aspire to be. Their adorkable relationship is a wonder and it was refreshing to finally see ‘bad’ parent jokes without feeling that the kid was going to mentally be scarred growing up. You genuinely feel that the family are happy and therefore can enjoy the dildo-princess humor without objecting to it. #parentinggoals
Nothing much to add that hasn’t already been said by Lee and Maria, but I specifically wanted to give this film an A because it has been my favourite movie this year, which is a little disappointing regardless of this movie’s consistent hilarity.
Zac Efron nearly ended my relationship, for the both of us.
[Lee and Maria’s reviews were originally posted on 12/05/16]