Very few good comedy sequels exist out there, and Neighbors 2 is able to join that select few in a extremely charming and funny endeavor from Nicolas Stoller who also directed the first film. Dealing with several issues at large plus providing similar yet still hilarious story, Neighbors 2 succeeds with everything it had to do, providing enough belly-laughs paired with a cohesive story that leads towards a perfect resolution.
Following the events of the first Neighbors, Neighbors 2 starts with Mac and Kelly (Rogen & Byrne) just having sold their house, waiting until their thirty-day period of escrow is over so they can move out when all of a sudden a sorority moves in next door and become an unstoppable obstacle in their road. Meanwhile Teddy Sanders (Efron) is currently struggling to find a job because of his criminal record earned from his mischievous deeds last time around, whilst also stuck in the past as we encounter him staring solemnly at the wall in the abandoned ruins of his old frat house. As for the sorority here, this one is actually humanized, this sorority is trying to prove a point by being the first sorority that treats women well and doesn’t subject them to the pervy nature of frat parties. Which is why the ending I won’t spoil works so well, since you’re rooting for everyone in reality. Once again, the stand-outs here are Zac Efron as Teddy and Ike Barinholtz as Jimmy, Mac’s best friend. Efron proves his comedy chops once again while also showcasing a sense of naiveness to his character as he asks Seth Rogen’s character in one scene why eggs don’t melt when you put them in boiling water. As for Barinholtz, he’s just comedic gold in every scene he’s in, especially a chase-sequence that happens mid-way through the movie that you’ve seen in the trailer with him disguised as a clown where Stoller decided to do some really creepy yet still really funny close-ups on his face during the chase that cracked me up. Though it almost goes for granted at this point, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are still hilarious together with the addition of having amazing chemistry, and Chloë Grace Moretz really surprised in this film, defining a new way to look at her, spreading her wings as an actor.
All in all, Neighbors 2 is a hilarious sweet story about maturing, whether that’s seen in the Radner decision to move to the suburbs, the Teddy Sanders character-arc or the sorority’s idea of seeking justice for women. It does share many of the same beats as the first one but its smartly puts those moments on their head by viewing them as a women would. I must say I was very surprised in regards to a lot of scenes and quips that were used in this promotional material yet never made it into the film, which might’ve worked for the film’s benefit as the film never dragged along and always felt like a cohesive unit. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is a fun, entertaining, sweet sequel to the first movie that intelligently improves upon some of the film’s first elements even though it repeats many of the same beats, leaving me to rate it at a 73 out of 100.