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Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
June 11, 2016, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Nicholas Stoller
2 Stars
Neighbors 2 - Sorority RisingIf Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising seems to be in another ill-advised sequel in a year in which “when did we ask for this?” has become a mantra, it is surprisingly thoughtful in is approach. It’s the rare retread in which the film aspires to be of its cultural moment as much as it attempts to remake itself. In setting the antagonists (that is, the antagonists from the point-of-view of Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne)) as young girls, the film comments on a radical social transition, where topics like campus rape culture and young female degradation are more discussed than ever. The best way of examining these issues becomes the former fratboy Teddy (Zac Efron), now viewed as out-of-touch by college students and still hopelessly childish by the adults, who at one point is asked to recall how every frat party he threw involved the word “ho.” But if Neighbors 2 is satisfying inasmuch as it is the rare sequel with new ideas, it is unfortunately not particularly funny, nor was the formula of the first picture worth revisiting (really, is there a less memorable Rogen vehicle than Neighbors?) Furthermore, if the complicated relationship the film has with the sorority is its best conversation piece, Chloë Grace Moretz is woefully miscast as their leader. Trying to play a down-to-earth, relatable young woman, Moretz feels like royalty trying to play a peasant—full of exaggerated gestures and a grating enthusiasm in her line deliveries that plays as no less desperate than Teddy. Rogen and Byrne, in particular, continue to perform well as Gen-X’ers struggling to identify as adults, even if the filmmakers forgot just how funny Byrne was in the original by giving her very little to do in the sequel.

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