I’m fairly certain that no one was calling for a sequel to the comedy hit Neighbors. That being said, I think that Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is probably better than anyone could have expected it to be. Opening this week, the film is a surprising triumph, a comedy sequel that might even be better than the original. At the very least, it stands tall among comedy sequels, which more or less is a cinematic wasteland, quality wise. It’s also a surprisingly progressive film, which really makes it stand apart. Seth Rogen and his cohorts will likely have another big hit on their hands, and deservedly so.
The movie is, obviously, a sequel to Neighbors. We once again see Mac Radner (Rogen) and his wife Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) fighting with a Greek organization that’s taken up residence next door to their home. This time though, it’s a sorority, one started by Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz) to counteract the sexist nature of fraternities. It’s an honorable goal, but for Mac and Kelly, their parties threaten the sale of their house, so they’ve got to go. Lucky strikes when it turns out that the girls’ mentor is none other than Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), so when they cast him aside, the couple enlist him to help win the day. Nicholas Stoller again directs, with original writers Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien returning to co-author with Rogen, Stoller, and Evan Goldberg. The supporting cast here, besides those mentioned, includes the likes of Dave Franco, Selena Gomez, Kiersey Clemons, Lisa Kudrow, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Beanie Feldstein, Jerrod Carmichael, Kelsey Grammer, and many more.
I found this to be one of the better comedy sequels ever, frankly. To be fair, that’s not too high a bar to clear, but still. What sets it apart, besides the genuine comedic chemistry that Byrne, Efron, and Rogen share, is the progressive streak that Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising has. This is a comedy that’s enlightened about gender equality, same sex marriage, and a fair amount of other issues that could be mined for cheap laughs. This isn’t merely a gender swap sequel, it’s a legitimate look at how unfairly girls are treated by colleges and the Greek system especially. It comes as a surprise, to be sure, but it’s a rather pleasant surprise all the same.
Here’s a bit from a spotlight piece I did on Rogen a […]