Trying to figure out why Neighbors needed a sequel outside of sheer monetary ones is fairly difficult. The original was a surprise summer hit that over performed every metric it was expected to hit. A sequel was greenlit fairly quickly, of course, but trying to figure out where to go from the first film gave a number of interesting options. The obvious would seem to be Teddy (Zac Efron) returning for revenge, and hijinks, alongside his fraternity that had been driven from their home previous. You turn up the volume, et al, and you could have some fun with Teddy and the boys having learned the lessons of the last film.
The other idea that seems interesting on the face is the idea of a sorority moving in to the neighborhood. Seeing how the older generation deals with women from the one underneath them feels like it could give us a lot more insight into the joys of being young in life but not quite young anymore. The first did that beautifully as there was a lot of interesting moments between Seth Rogen and Zac Efron that got lost in the film.
And that’s where this one goes as Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are expecting a second child and trying to sell their home. When the girls of Kappa Nu move in next door, potentially ruining the sale of their home, the two have to recruit Teddy to come back and help them with this latest dealing with college kids run amok.
And with this setup you’d think the jokes would write themselves. Women can be just as filthy as guy, obviously, and seeing how Mac and Kelly deal with them seems to write itself. Unfortunately, the problems begin with the film’s script, which has a number of different writers credited to it. This is a film that isn’t merely pulling punches in its source material. It marginally qualifies for an R rating if one deducts the language portion of the rating. There isn’t much that wouldn’t be in an edgy PG-13 film in the script and the predecessor’s harder R rating makes the sequel pale in comparison.
There’s a feeling watching this film that where the film wanted to go, and where it eventually went, are two different profoundly different things. This is a film that feels like it’s been manicured too much to make sure no one is offended. Plenty of jokes fall flat, or just flat out don’t work, because of it. With so many people having been credited on the film’s screenplay it’s not that surprising; sometimes too many chefs spoil the broth. The film doesn’t have a unified feel to it; it feels like rejected parts of other people’s screenplays brought together and then neutered down as to not be offensive (but not being funny without said offending material).
Neighbors 2 has a great set up but does so little with it that it’s frustrating on a number of levels.
Nothing that isn’t a bland EPK piece.
Universal presents Neighbors 2. Directed by Nicholas Stoller. Written by Andrew J. Cohen & Brendan O’Brien & Nicholas Stoller & Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg. Starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Kiersey Clemons, Beanie Feldstein, Ike Barinhnoltz, Clara Mamet. Run Time: 92 minutes. Rated R. Released on:
Tags: Beanie Feldstein, Chloe Grace Moretz, Clara Mamet, Ike Barinhnoltz, Kiersey Clemons, Neighbors, Neighbors 2, Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron