Bad Neighbours 2 (2016)

10:35 AM

Parenthood Vs. Sisterhood
This review contains Spoilers
 Bad Neighbours 2 is directed by Nicholas Stoller (Bad Neighbours, The Five Year Engagement) and is the sequel to the 2014 surprise hit comedy. The film stars Seth Rogen (This is the End, The Interview), Rose Byrne (Insidious, X-Men: First Class), Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, The 5th Wave), Zac Efron (17 Again, The Lucky One), Dave Franco (21 Jump Street, Now You See Me) and Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers, Hotel Transylvania). "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". Bad Neighbours was a strong comedy that came out of no where but this sequel is clearly just a cash grab - is it worth your time?

So Bad Neighbours 2 (or Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising in the US) is a pretty solid sequel to its 2014 predecessor - however, the original still tops it. I wanted Bad Neighbours 2 to be a little better than it was - that could have been helped by a slightly longer running time - this film is around 80-90 minutes long so it could have done with being a bit longer (I rarely say that about films). However, I do think the film improves on its predecessor is some areas - it may lack the slightly artistic approach the first had but this time there are some really topical messages and themes throughout which I appreciated - it's unusual for a comedy to tackle important topics. 

I actually liked the concept and overall plot for this film better - I think the sorority were even harder to beat than the fraternity which made it even more entertaining. The film was definitely funny but I think not all of the jokes landed and I think many of them were tailored to a US audience so I don't think they work as well with UK audiences. I still found Bad Neighbours 2 funny and there were definitely many more good jokes in the film that weren't in the trailer which is a good sign (some funny moments in the trailer aren't actually in the film). The plot was strong and I think the fact that Teddy (Efron) flips sides part way through was an interesting change to make - it definitely showcased the side of him we loved from the last film as well as a much more likeable side to his character as well. 

One thing I think really needed to improve was the editing of the film - I think it wasn't done very smoothly and was actually quite sloppy - it took you out of the film at times as you could tell they've cut out pieces of dialogue and glued two moments of a take together. However, this isn't a major issue as many other factors in the film were able to resolve this. 

I think this act were very impressive - Rogen, Efron and Byrne were all fantastic - as they were in the first film. I also found Dave Franco's character a lot less irritable in this film (he was the only thing I didn't like about the first film). Chloe Grace Moretz was a fantastic fit for the role she was playing - she was able to be likeable and relatable at times as well as pretty horrible. I must also mention Selena Gomez who has a very small role in the film but definitely made an impression - I think she is just dipping her toe in the adult-comedy genre in this film and I wouldn't be surprised if Rogen brings her back for a bigger role in a future project. The acting in this film is very strong - all have good comedic timing. 

The biggest thing going for Bad Neighbours 2 that sets it apart from every other comedy sequel is how progressive it is and how it mentions many topical themes. Towards the beginning of the film, we find out Dave Franco's character is gay and that isn't done for comedic relief and he isn't made fun of - I think this is a film with a modern state of mind as that is a reflection of today. I also like the way it tackles issues with feminism and sexism - the film is pretty feminist as the girls want to be equal to men and want to feel empowered. However, the film sometimes makes fun of feminism and how over the top it can be. I also like the way it deals with the idea of 'double standards' - how it's ok for men to do things but not ok for females to do the exact same thing - the characters have a point here and I think this is something modern audiences will appreciate. However, these sophisticated undertones don't take you out of the film - they don't even seem too blatant unless you're looking out for them. I have appreciated horror films that add some depth and it is nice to see comedy films like Bad Neighbours 2 make an attempt to add some depth as well (without it being there as comic relief). 

I think Bad Neighbours 2 will do pretty solid business at the box office and even though any sequels from here will be unnecessary, I do think they will be appreciated. I have a great idea for where this series can go - if Men in Black and 21 Jump Street can crossover in MIB23, I think Bad Neighbours and Pitch Perfect and crossover as well - there are already references to riff offs and they are both made by Universal so it could happen. I honestly think this would be a good idea - the Barden Bellas become the new Neighbours - they may not be rowdy but they would definitely need to "keep it down". 

Bad Neighbours 2 isn't an improvement on the first film but it definitely is a solid comedy film and is the best comedy I have seen so far this year (not that there is much competition). The film is light-hearted but is very progressive and shows where all films should be in terms of showing a true reflection of the real world. The performances are great and the comedy is solid. Bad Neighbours 2 is a satisfying sequel that may surprise everyone all over again as many believe it is just unnecessary. 

3.5 STARS
B+

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