Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 5/10
Cast: Seth Rogan, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ike Barinholtz, Kiersey Clemons,Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jerrod Carmichael, Beanie Feldstein, Selena Gomez, Lisa Kudrow, Kelsey Grammer, Liz Cackowski, Carla Gallo.
There seems to be no shame in a sequel, in many cases the story demands that the character’s lives are further resolved or they are at least interesting enough to wonder what would happen next in their lives, that the demand for the story will always ensure a franchise. The first one though, the first part, that is where the demands starts and if the first film goes down in flames then the second one should never be attempted upon pain of death in the audience.
Yet unfathomably, a quirk of nature in the fabric of humanity’s appreciation for such inconsistency suggests that the sequel is actually better, even if not by a long stretch of the imagination, than the first; that is where the cinematic dichotomy comes in and in Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising, that subdivision between two extremes is realised. Where the clownish buffoonery and almost futile attempts at humour were glorified and devoured as quickly as a lion taking on a dead zebra, the sequel is by comparison fair and in parts enjoyable.
A lot of this improvement comes from the addition of Chloë Grace Moretz as Shelby, a college student away from home for the first time who just wants to live by a different set of rules and be involved in a sister hood that doesn’t conform to the nature of other sororities and one that can look after itself independently. Joined by the superb Kelsey Grammer, albeit for about five minutes on screen and with an improved situation for the warring Radners and their young neighbours to get involved in, the film actually becomes a half way decent attempt at comedy.
The trouble is that the film still relies too heavily on the concept of what is funny and what is over the top, what is inappropriate and tasteless. Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising is still a film that revels in the tasteless, in the weak joke and whilst the differences between the ages is very much at the heart of the film, a typical topic being old people’s stuff constantly being referenced, it also relies on jokes that are beyond the pale and in any other film would be seen as sexist and defamatory in either direction.
Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising is a film that is a vast improvement on its older sibling but still falls incredibly short of what truly constitutes humour in the 21st Century.
Ian D. Hall