Gross-out comedies might be a little old hat in the film landscape today, but they still pull in decent audience sizes and, for the most part, are effective enough to keep people entertained.
o it went with 2014's Bad Neighbours, a reasonably funny effort with the always likeable Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco and Zac Efron leading the charge. The premise was as simple then as it is now. Rogen and Byrne are a married couple with a second child on the way who have managed to sell their home. With the house beside them empty of a fraternity, life's returned to a degree of normality. Newcomer Chloe Moretz has just joined the local college and, after seeing what life is like with the current sororities - embodied by the blandly perfect Selena Gomez and her vegan-free, all-white sisters - decides to set up her own with the help of Beanie Feldstein and Kiersey Clemons. Zac Efron, meanwhile, feels increasingly devalued as Dave Franco is now engaged and wants him to move out. Turning up at his old frat house, he meets Moretz and co. and agrees to help them set up their sorority and mentor them. Efron's return, of course, is noticed by Rogen and Byrne and so the story begins.
s it was in the first one, everyone's more or less reprising their roles. Efron is his usual loveable / listless self, Rogen is the constantly-shouting father whilst Byrne has slightly more room to play with. Dave Franco, meanwhile, is relegated to a couple of scenes at the beginning and the end of the film. Ike Barinholtz, meanwhile, has some funny scenes and has a good chemistry with Rogen and Byrne. Hannibal Buress also turns up as the off-kilter cop and Kelsey Grammer turns up for an extended cameo as Moretz's father. It's clear, however, that Moretz has little or no chops for comedy. We know she can act; all you have to do is look at the excellent Let Me In for proof. Here, however, she's just treading water without any real impact on the proceedings. Her cohorts, particularly Kiersey Clemons, make more of an effort than she does.
here's a surprisingly progressive bent to the story that looks at just how messed up the Greek system is in American colleges. In fact, the opening scene informs us that only male fraternities are allowed throw parties and the ones shown in the film are just awful; signs reading NO MEANS YES and neon phallus pointing towards the bedroom. When Moretz's sorority kicks off, they host a Feminist Icon Party with Efron in drag as Future President Hillary Clinton. It's good to see that the comedy is aimed in the right direction instead of resorting the usual tripe from these kind of gross-out comedies. The script, as well, zips along at a decent pace and no one comedic setpiece is overplayed. There's enough good jokes to keep the pace moving solidly along and at just over 93 minutes, it's pleasantly brief.
verall, Bad Neighbours 2 is an entertaining sequel with a good few laughs throughout. As good as the first one, essentially.