BAD NEIGHBOURS 2 (or Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising if you’re in the US) is the hotly anticipated sequel to 2014’s Zac Efron-led sleeper hit Bad Neighbours, a film that did surprisingly well at the worldwide box office despite several reviews to the contrary. The main cast all return for this stupid yet endearing return to frat houses and sororities, and fans of the first instalment will be happy to know it’s just as filthy and inappropriate as you’d expect.
Plot-wise, things are a little thin, which is actually what I expected going in. I find that comedy sequels often struggle with a decent, believable story, and that’s unfortunately where BAD NEIGHBOURS 2 loses points. It does get better as Efron is given more to do than just stand there looking pretty, and the four-year time jump from Bad Neighbours definitely helps proceedings. Seeing these characters as older, more mature (ahem) individuals makes the whole story a lot more interesting, and, without that, I don’t think this sequel would have had a chance of succeeding as well as it has.
Chloë Moretz is one of several new actors to grace the cast list this time around, and she makes for a worthy addition to what was already a star-studded line-up. Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron and Dave Franco reprise their over-the-top roles we’ve come to know and love, and they all look like they’re having the most fun you can possibly have on a film set. Being a self-confessed Efron fan means he easily steals the show for me, but the whole cast does a great job of delivering many a hilarious scene you perhaps wouldn’t want to be watching with your parents.
As with most teen comedies these days, there’s an abundance of dick jokes, weed-smoking and scenes of a very sexual nature. This is perfect for me and my filthy sense of humour, but it won’t be to everyone’s taste — if you don’t particularly want to see Rogen and Byrne thrusting for all it’s worth, you might want to give this one a miss. But, if you want to experience Efron covered in oil and dirty dancing in front of a crowd of scantily-clad teenage girls, then this is the film for you! (You’re welcome, ladies.)
BAD NEIGHBOURS 2 is entertaining and well worth a watch, though a better script would have worked in its favour. Anyone who likes the first film will undoubtedly think much the same of this one, and it’s a fun way to spend ninety minutes of your film-watching life. I can’t fault any of the cast — they made me laugh, and, in a few cases, went above and beyond what I was expecting them to do — and they’re genuinely one of the best ensemble teams in teen comedy. I hope my favourite neighbours do well enough to get a third cinematic outing; I think another time jump will be needed to keep things fresh, and I’m sure there’ll be no problems coming up with a ludicrous script that means Efron will be shirtless for a good portion of the runtime. If it happens, count me in!
– JENNY DAVIES