As sequels go, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is pretty funny. It reunites the entire team responsible for the 2014 comedy hit, right down to the little girl who plays Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne’s daughter. Writers Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien (along with Rogen, longtime partner Evan Goldberg, and director Nicholas Stoller) have devised a logical and sure-fire premise for this follow-up: Rogen and Byrne are waiting out a 30-day escrow period to sell their house, but a feisty group of feminist sorority girls move in next door and threaten to torpedo the sale.
There are surprisingly serious undercurrents to the comedy: Chloë Grace Moretz and two other girls feel alienated being away from home for the first time and are frustrated that sororities aren’t allowed to throw parties (unlike their male counterparts).
Meanwhile, former frat boy Zac Efron (who led the ruckus in the first movie) is at loose ends. His college pals have moved on to serious careers while he’s still eking out a living as a model at a store where he’s now considered old.
Fortunately, Neighbors 2 never takes itself too seriously, but it benefits from keeping one foot in reality while the other foot goes flying in all directions. Sight gags and farce are just two weapons in its arsenal, and most of these comic devices deliver the intended laughs.
Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, and other supporting players all have a chance to shine, and an unexpected appearance by a first-rate comedic actor scores an absolute bull’s-eye.
But it’s the likability—and relatability—of Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne that makes the film so solid. Moretz is equally believable, and appealing. Like any sequel, Neighbors 2 lacks the freshness of the original, but manages to deliver what viewers will expect.