Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising (2016) – Film Review
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron
by Anel Blazevic
It must be a weird world to live in when you’re the maker of a gross-out comedy. Is this really what you went to movie school for? All those dreams of adding something vital to the worldwide cultural melting pot. All those desires to broadcast your unstoppable talent to an eager audience. And yet, what happens is Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising. Where your movie-making ambition extends to re-hashing a surprise box office hit ($268m) that was already thin, dumb and totally without class.
So – what do you do? If you’re Nicholas Stoller, you stretch thin to translucent. You vomit in someone’s face (literally), you reintroduce used tampons to the grand movie lexicon before sticking a dildo in a child’s hand for scene after scene until that particular ‘joke’ actually starts making you feel quite queasy.
The jokes are scatter-gun and infantile. They miss targets like a cack-handed clown with a barrel load of rancid custard pies. The script is meant to be snappy and irreverent, but really it’s ragged and clichéd. Plus, there is inconsistency piled on inconsistency – unforgivable in an ‘anything goes’ movie.
“Even worse than the horrible original”
There’s a small attempt at ‘heart’, tagging some vulnerability into a curiously straight third act, where we’re supposed to feel some sympathy and gain some understanding for the stunted main protagonist. Except it’s so uneven and out of place, it’s kind of a relief when the cussing and partying takes over again.
The normally excellent Chloe Grace Moretz needs her head checking for accepting the cliched sorority girl role, putting her transition from teen movie star to mature actress in serious jeopardy. Seth Rogan trots out his trademark half-comedy shtick for the umpteenth time, knowing full-well his time is almost up. And Zac Effron is on hand to do what he does best – take his shirt off.
I suppose it’s an achievement of sorts by Stoller to make a movie that’s even worse than the horrible original – but that’s about the only achievement on show here. So much for film school, eh?