Neighbors 2 (2016): Sorority Rising

Posted: July 2, 2016 in Comedy
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Looking to move out of their university adjacent home to start a new life, Mac and Kelly Radner just got their realtor to confirm they were in escrow. While they do not completely understand what that means, they know they just need to get through 30 days until the deal is finalized. Unbeknownst to them, a group of young women feeling out of place at a sorority meeting and fraternity party decide to create their own version of a sorority. Their group would go beyond the rules and host parties. This development shocks the Radners, as they fail to convince the students to wait until they have moved on. Helping to fan the flames, Teddy Sanders uses the conflict with the sorority to enact some revenge from their encounters from when he was living next door.

Feminism…Sort of: One of the interesting themes of this film was the idea of breaking traditional gender roles and norms. Sororities are typically prevented from being able to engage in many party traditions that fraternities host, but this is more of an practice and guideline from the National Panhellenic Council. The idea seemed like an interesting angle to promote the premise of the film and touch on a real life social issue, but it was done with cheap humor, unfocused thinking from the characters, and a significant degree of law-breaking. This is a film, but there is more to the failure to positively promote this gender reversal…

Tired Gags and Attempted Shock Value: A movie with Seth Rogen is not typically one involving sophisticated humor, as evidenced by the first film of the series. One of the confusing elements of this film was its failure to distinguish a progression in its humor with the involvement of sorority and women’s issues. Instead, the comedy was more of a “insert women into traditional male role” scenario. For example, the scene where they threw bloody tampons at the house was simply disgusting and completely lacked comedic value. It also devalued the feminist message, even though there was a comparison held with juvenile practice of fraternity men throwing phallic items (with at least made Zac Efron chuckle).

Convenient Resolution: While there is technically still room for a potential sequel (please no), the film was able to find a happy conclusion that eliminated nearly all questions about the way the events of the film would affect the characters long-term. The Radner’s found a way to move on from the house where they were terrorized by Greek organizations. The women were able to validate their existence as a sorority and start a new trend in party-throwing sororities. Even Teddy was able to reconcile with his best friend and find purpose in his life as a wedding planner (transition?). The story was done but completely unsatisfying.

Final Verdict: Neighbors 2 had potential with the themes it attempted to promote but fell far short of being able to promote anything other than underdeveloped comedy and lackluster arguments for women’s rights. Dumbing down the characters to ensure the ability to create crude humor turned this film into just another failed attempt at a sequel.

Dan’s Rating: 1.5/5

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