Bad Neighbours 2, 2016.
Directed by Nicholas Stoller.
Starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Kiersey Clemons, Ike Barinholtz, Selena Gomez, Carla Gallo and Lisa Kudrow.
After a sorority moves in next door, which is even more debaucherous than the fraternity before it, Mac and Kelly have to ask for help from their former enemy, Teddy.
Following on from 2014’s Bad Neighbours, its sequel is a pro-feminism, gross out, debauched and at times hilarious comedy.
Set a few years after the original, Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) are going through escrow as they’re set to move to a bigger house and all is going well until a sorority move in next door. The jokes and set pieces come thick and fast, ensuring that this sequel stands up to its predecessor.
The plot is thin, but for a comedy of this style you’re not exactly expecting to watch anything too complex and taxing. Many plot lines from the original are repeated and even riffed on throughout – those that found the airbag sequence in the original entertaining will not be disappointed by its reappearance here – and while it’s not as sweet the second time around, it does deal with some quite weighty issues.
Surprisingly this film has a big pro-feminism message running throughout. Freshmen Shelby (Moretz) attends her first frat party (because sororities can’t throw their own parties), she is immediately thrust into a world where the girls are referred to as “hoes”, treated like sex objects and are constantly afraid of being date raped. Whilst this may be exaggerated for the drama of the film, it’s not difficult to imagine that most women would revolt at the idea of this. Shelby and a few of her friends decided to start their own sorority where they can throw their own parties, can hang around in their pyjamas and generally do whatever they want as “sisters”. Whilst the war between the neighbours escalates it is made clear throughout that this isn’t an attack on their feminist ways. It’s difficult to combine gross out comedy with a strong viewpoint but the screen writers have succeeded here.
All the cast play the roles adequately and once again the standout performance is Efron as the man-child Teddy. Efron’s career is going well and he’s finding some hidden depths in characters that could have been entirely one dimensional. True he will have to take his shirt off in every film he appears in for the rest of his natural life. But he proves yet again that he is a talented comedic actor and one who should be given more to do then gyrate on a stage (although a dance scene is pretty funny…).
Rogen plays himself as always and Byrne is a good sport considering some of the scenes she has to do. All in all Bad Neighbours 2 is an entertaining sequel and on par with its predecessor. It doesn’t break any new ground in comedy but it has a strong message and a ton of laughs.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Helen Murdoch is a freelance writer – Follow me on Twitter