HOLLYWOOD—Comedy is hard, that is something that has been echoed so many times by me. In 2014, the sleeper comedy was “Neighbors” starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron. It was full of surprises, plenty of wit and gave birth to comedy from the female perspective yet again, but this time in actress Rose Byrne.
Well in Hollywood, if a movie makes a ton of movie that is a sign a sequel has to happen, and we now have “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.” Unfortunately, that magic that popped in the first installment is lacking a bit in this sequel. Notable players Rogen and Byrne return as Mac and Kelly Radner. They are ecstatic that the raunchy fraternity that caused so much chaos are long gone, which makes the opportunity to sell their home that much easier, especially with the news that they are expecting another child.
Of course, it’s never that easy, because they learn that a sorority, full of raunchy sisters that include Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Nora (Beanie Feldstein) and Beth (Kiersey Clemons) have moved into the house next to them. Yeah, that is not welcome news, especially considering the house is in escrow and the buyers could change their minds within 30 days. Cue the madness people! The movie plays on that dynamic of men vs. women and does its best to convey what “Bridesmaids” did what seems like ions ago. Yes, women are indeed funny and when done right are even more hilarious than their male counterparts.
However, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” fights quite hard to pursue that notion with some gags and bits that work to deliver bellyaches for the viewers, but after a while feel a bit forced or overstretched. The sisters desperate to get their sorority moving realizes that funding is on the low end, which leads to the Radners’ nemesis Teddy (Zac Efron) helping them out. Teddy is still a bit sour at Mac and Kelly for ruining his life (as he speaks). However, his little plan backfires when the sisters turn their backs on him. “Sorority Rising” is nothing more than a rehashed version of its predecessor, but this time girls taking on the roles that were previously held by guys, with a few adjustments here and there with the gags.
Rogen and Efron tend to be front and center most of the movie, while Byrne seems to take a bit of a backseat to the humor that she was so prevalently involved in the first time around. We of course get a few cameos from faces in the first flick, but not to the degree where they are notable players in the narrative or the story as it unfolds for the viewer.
Fans of the first chapter in this franchise will enjoy the second outing. However, be aware that “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” does not take the antics to a higher place to qualify this sequel as being bigger or better than the first.