As three new students navigate their way around their new college, we hear Beth (Kiersey Clemons) claim that the party they are attending is a bit ‘rapey’. This sets the tone, and precedence for the rest of this Nicholas Stoller sequel, that ridicules and scrutinises over the sexist, fraternity culture in America, in a feminist comedy that manages to find a compatible balance between its barbed, pertinent message, and the asinine comedic approach.
Beth, alongside ringleader Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein), decide to start their own sorority house, to free themselves from the clutches of the fraternity social life, who they learn are the only ones actually allowed to host parties. First and foremost they need a house, and an advisor, and when they stumble across Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) he willingly agrees to get involved, and they wind up at his old stomping ground, all but set to lock horns – yet again – with next door neighbours, and young parents, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), who only need their new neighbours to be quiet for 30 days, which is when their escrow expires and their house is finally sold.
This surprisingly subversive comedy had initially been deemed a somewhat superfluous sequel – but more than justifies its existence from the very offset. Stoller empowers the female protagonists that feature, giving them the power – but at the same time never undermining the character creations by ensuring they remain gloriously imperfect, flawed in their own cloud of naivety. This picture trumps the original endeavour too, in that it’s not nearly as repetitive as what came before, with more variety to the range of jokes. The narrative structure may ultimately be the same, but the content is far from it.
Bad Neighbours 2 represents a film seldom seen in contemporary cinema: a triumphant comedy sequel that matches the original (and then some). While Derek Zoolander and Ron Burgundy both failed in their respective comebacks, it’s a pleasure to delve yet again into the lives of Mac, Kelly and Teddy. Though here’s hoping Efron doesn’t get too many ideas, for a Dirty Grandpa sequel really would be the beginning of the end.