The sorority sisters in Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising


DIRECTOR: Nicholas Stoller

CAST: Chloe Grace Moretz, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Selena Gomez, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco


RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

RATING: 3 stars (out of 5)

Theresa Smith

This Bad Neighbours sequel is more of the same, so fans will be pleased.

Jokes range from cringeworthy slapstick involving various body fluids through bad taste right up to surprisingly astute. And, yes people, it seems it is time to start with the Cosby jokes.

Four years on, Teddy Sanders (Efron) is still reliving the glory of his college frat boy days. While his friends are finding their place in committed relationships and moving up in their careers, he is still stalled in retail.

On the other side of town in the ’burbs, Kelly and Mac Radnor (Byrne and Rogen) are expecting another child and selling their house.

The frat house next door is still standing unused after the first film destroyed its reputation when into the dusty space step a trio of freshman looking for a new home.

Shelby (Moretz) persuades new friends Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) that they need to start a sorority that caters to how they want to live and, overhearing them, Teddy immediately offers his help, and thus the stage is set for a repeat of urban couple versus noisy students out of control.

What drags this film into the now are some astute observations on gender relations in the US, hidden amongst fart, poo, dildo and terrible jokes across the colour and religious bars.

The film foregrounds the absurdity of sexism while still using the same slapstick style of the first film. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But, the attempt is refreshing.

The lack of characterisation for the girl characters, though, undermines every shrewd joke. The filmmakers want the girls to fit into the mould of the boys from the first, forgetting their whole point is that the girls are different. So while they get to be all about the girl power, they are portrayed as stupid in the extreme and the older women – Kelly and her friend Paula (Carla Gallo) – are depicted as utterly devoid of common sense because that is the only way to shoehorn them into their terrible choices.

Lisa Kudrow’s one scene is exquisite though and makes up for a lot of the gross-out jokes.

The one person who does change the most is Teddy, who seems positively grown up in his choices. Efron has great comic timing and by the end of the film Teddy has figured out what he wants to do with his life. So, basically the film is about the straight guy finding his place in the world despite the pesky feminists.

If you liked Bad Neighbours, you will like this.