Generally speaking as a critic I’m not all that harsh.
I try my best to look for the good in films even if they aren’t that great as a whole. I do this mainly because a lot of what I like to do with my writing is to steer people toward good cinema and away from bad.
It’s really that simple at times. Highlight the good movies out the bad.
However in the case of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, I’m highlighting something truly awful.
It’s not often that a movie like Neighbor’s 2: Sorority Rising makes me cringe (not in a fun way), but coming out of it I felt a sour taste in the back of my mouth, akin to freshly spoiled milk.
It may not be completely turned, but it’s close enough to warrant throwing it in the garbage.
The plot picks up a couple years after the first film with Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) waiting in thirty day escrow hell to sell their house to a naïve young couple.
A carbon copy of what Mac and Kelly were in the first movie.
All of a sudden the couple’s worst nightmare occurs. A startup sorority, led by Shelby (Chloe Grace-Moretz), Beth, and Nora, moves in next door.
Ready to cause appropriate chaos.
It’s a flimsy premise no doubt, but I guess logical for the series progression. Teddy (Zac Efron), even gets thrown back into the mix. First as advisor to the sorority then later as cohort to Kelly and Mac.
Perhaps the only admirable aspect of Sorority Rising, and what seems to be it’s main source of praise, is it’s undoubted edge towards female empowerment and feminist themes.
Shelby and her new crew of friends are rightly sick of a male dominated greek fraternity system that allows the frats to party, but not the sororities. Not to mention the larger male dominated system that is a hot topic for discussion in this day and age.
Believe me when I say I want more films to tackle these themes, but I want the films and the characters themselves to match up with said themes.
The biggest blunder of the film in my eyes, is making a film with such a female centric story, without featuring many if any significant female characters. Even beyond that, just looking at who made it is kind of depressing.
Director – Man.
Producers – 3 Men.
Writers – 5 Men.
You see where I’m going with this. Even a lot of the major technical aspects had mostly men in charge. I’m guessing this is why outside of the main sorority trio none of the sister’s had names, or even personalities to speak of.
Hell, Beth and Nora could be cast as ,“Token Fat Girl” and “Token Black Girl”, for all the actual development they are given.
On the surface, the film has a great positive message and I can completely respect that aspect in and of itself.
However, that message isn’t enough to make me ignore the fact that just about everything in the making of the film still screams, “We have major issues in Hollywood.”
Aside from these horrible thematic and behind the scenes issues, the movie itself just tends to recycle old jokes and plot points from the first film.
The first starts how the first one started, with sex. Only this time, it ends with vomiting.
I knew how Rogen felt being covered in throw up by the end of the film.
The film being pointless isn’t even it’s biggest grievance, it’s the fact that it’s such a wasted potential that continues to boil my blood a week later.
★ Neighbors 2 panders under the guise of progression, wasting an opportunity to challenge the Hollywood status quo by having a bunch of white guys scream at us about feminism