‘Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising’ stays too long at the party

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Seth Rogen in “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.” | Universal Pictures

The tagline for the wacky, weed-filled, sexy, cheerfully offensive comedy “Caddyshack” in 1980 was: “The Snobs Against the Slobs.”

Loved that movie. Dopey but great.

The tagline for the wacky, weed-filled, sexy, cheerfully offensive comedy “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” would be something more along the lines of:

“The Irresponsible, Selfish, Unlikable Parents Against the Bratty, Self-Entitled, Lawbreaking Teenagers.”

Yeah, doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

I had a mixed reaction to “Neighbors” in 2014, but ultimately gave it a qualified recommendation because there was a solid percentage of genuine laughs to be mined from the R-rated hijinks pitting young newlyweds Mac and Kelly Rudner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) against the Frat Next Door, led by Zac Efron’s vainglorious Teddy and Dave Franco’s nutty and intense Pete.

The sequel is equally fearless and in-your-face, whether the gags involve young women hurling recently used tampons at their enemies; a pregnant woman vomiting onto her husband’s face during intercourse; a baby’s foot seen dangling from ANOTHER pregnant woman; a roofie joke about Bill Cosby, or an overweight young woman catapulted through the windshield of a car.

Problem is, none of that stuff is particularly funny. It’s mostly juvenile, desperate and disgusting.

Even worse, “Neighbors 2” cynically tries to make a feminist statement amidst all the downright nasty behavior exhibited by the fledgling sorority sisters who have moved next door to the Rudners.

To be sure, these young women have a legitimate cause in fighting against double standards and the “Bros Before Ho’s” mentality of some fraternities — but it’s a little tough to root for them after they’ve engaged in vile and criminal antics to take down their new next-door neighbors. Sure, we’re horrible people who don’t blink at destroying the lives of our enemies — but gosh, isn’t it terrible when men leer at us?

Yes it is. Also, you might want to rethink how YOU treat your fellow human beings.

Plus, didn’t it occur to director and co-writer Nicholas Stoller and the team of co-writers, including Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, that if you’re going to include a female empowerment story line in your collegiate comedy, you shouldn’t portray every single one of the young female students as utter dimwits who keep reminding us they know nothing about anything?

The contrived circumstances of the sequel:

Mac and Kelly are ready to move to the suburbs, especially now that daughter Stella (played by twins Zoey Vargas and Elise Vargas) will soon have a little sister. (A running joke about Stella: She likes to walk around with her mother’s sexual aid and bring it out whenever someone is visiting. Ha. Ha. Ha.) They’ve sold the house — but there’s a 30-day escrow period in which the buyers can back out if they foresee any problems.

Cue the entrance of Chloe Grace Moretz’s Shelby and her new best friends Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldman), who were so mortified by the leering sexism they encountered at their first frat party they decided to form their own sorority and move into the house next door to the Rudners — the same house from which Efron’s Teddy and the frat boys created such havoc just a few years prior.

Through a series of developments not worth delving into, Teddy winds up joining the Rudners in their manic efforts to shut down the hard-partying sorority, lest the new buyers stop by one night, take one look at the madness happening next door and back out of the deal.

(As was the case with the first “Neighbors,” apparently nobody lives in any of the other homes on the block. The sorority parties are so over-the-top, homeowners from blocks away should be calling the cops.)

The sole purpose of the newly formed Kappa Nu sorority is to prove female students can get as wasted and behave as stupidly as their male counterparts.

Yeah, I know it’s a comedy, but the filmmakers are the ones who introduced social issues. There’s not a moment when any of these young women even talks about attending class or doing some good. Their biggest projects are cornering the market on campus pot so they can sell tons of weed, and committing actual felonies against the Rudners.

As for Mac and Kelly, they’re horrible parents who keep asking each other if they’re horrible parents.

Answer: YES.

Rogen and Byrne are immensely likable and truly talented actors, and they have a wonderful, natural chemistry together — but there’s only so much the duo can produce when they’re saddled with playing such shallow morons.

Efron spends much of the movie taking his shirt off and flexing, usually for alleged comedic effect. Efron’s a gamer, but he’s a long way from making a Channing Tatum-like transition from Sculpted Male Sex Object to Actor to Be Reckoned With.

I couldn’t wait for this movie to end.


Universal Pictures presents a film directed by Nicholas Stoller and written by Stoller, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien. Running time: 92 minutes. Rated R (for crude sexual content including brief graphic nudity, language throughout, drug use and teen partying). Opens Friday at local theaters.

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