The first Neighbors really surprised me, so it was difficult to reel back my expectations for the sequel. Would it be able to blend R-rated humor with actual clever and witty writing? Let’s see.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne return, raising one daughter and about to have a second. They’re attempting to sell their home, just to discover that a new sorority moved in next door. This isn’t just a normal sorority though, this one was created to party, led by Chloe Grace Moretz. The two parents just have to calm down the parties for the next 30 days while their escrow closes, but can they do it? Zac Efron also returns to help mentor the new sorority in the ways of partying.
Everything that worked in the original, still works here. Rogen and Byrne are great, with spectacular chemistry and Byrne continues to impress me with her comedy chops. Efron was great too, having a more emotional storyline than I imagined he would (I mean, we’re not talking really emotional but more than I would have expected from a movie like this).
What doesn’t work?
Here’s the thing. The old stuff still works. Rogen and Byrne and Efron.
The new stuff… not so much. I don’t have a problem with Chloe Grace Moretz as an actress but I have a problem with the storyline they wrote for her. I work at a university and it’s hard to not think about how a storyline like this would actually play out. I would’ve been able to distance myself from reality, if the movie didn’t repeatedly emphasize how real of a problem this is (is sororities not throwing parties a huge social issue?). So I got caught up on a lot of the storyline stuff, like when the Dean is like “We can’t do anything.” I was conflicted.
But for most of you, you don’t care about that. Reality schmeality.
The story still doesn’t hold up, especially in the final act. The way the big conflict is resolved is some of the laziest writing I’ve ever seen and makes absolutely no sense (in the movie or in a real-life context). And then the final few scenes of the movie are like a car that is running out of gas and slowly pulls over to the side of the road before it finally dies. That’s how this movie ends, in a really weird dragged out way that leaves you confused and kind of apathetic.
This movie is mixed for me. I think in the end, it just made me want to rewatch the first Neighbors. The new characters and the storyline about Kappa Nu fell flat for me, while Rogen, Byrne, and Efron managed to have a few great moments. I wouldn’t recommend seeing in theaters, maybe catch it via Redbox someday.