It may seem like Bad Neighbours 2 is just a rehash of the original film with a twist but director Nicholas Stoller and the cast make this one of the comedy sequels that doesn’t suck. This film is funny, shocking and really entertaining with its no holds barred comedy but also has an emotional core that makes Bad Neighbours 2 more than just a joke machine. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne return as Mac and Kelly a few years after the first film, now pregnant with a second child they decide to move to a larger house. After going into escrow they have to wait thirty days until the sale is complete however history is doomed to repeat itself as a new sorority moves next door.
Now this film is just switching up the premise of the previous films, its girls instead of boys but the film finds its own spirit and uses the familiarity to its advantage. Almost every jokes lands, hard. I was laughing so much in this film I’m sure I would have been an annoyance to others in the theatre but I didn’t care because damn there is some really fantastic comedy in this. The filmmakers aren’t afraid to go to some uncomfortable places but it works well because they want to expose some really nasty sides to society. It is a heightened reality at times especially with the return of the airbag joke but your never taken out of the film and how the film combines the comedy with the emotional resolutions of the film is endearing and hilarious.
There isn’t a weak link in the cast, some characters are stranger than others like Ike Barinholtz whose moments really nail that uncomfortable humour. Rose Byrne continues to prove that she is a comedic powerhouse, her portrayal of Kelly continuing to play against stereotype of the wife character. Even the cameos play to the film’s strengths, Billy Eichner as the sketchy real estate agent or especially Hannibal Buress returning as the cop from the first film. Buress’s sequence in this film may be on the best things I’ve seen put to film this year. The real standouts of the cast are Zac Efron and Chloë Grace Moretz, Efron now ally and Moretz is the antagonist. Efron still as a directionless life yearning for his glory days when in the frat. Moretz’s character and motivation is very different from the first film, she and her sorority sisters want to break away from the sexist ways of college society. They want to be their own people but their independence threatens Mac and Kelly’s future and another war breaks out.
The main themes of the film are of empowerment and sexism in society which surprisingly work very well. This is what has this film stand apart on its own because it addresses directly how ugly our culture can be to women at many points in this film other characters try to control Moretz and her friends. These girls are portrayed as the “antagonists” and the film shows that the only way they are antagonistic is because they aren’t following society’s expectations. Bad Neighbours 2 focuses more on the comedy than the drama to show the fucked up nature of gender politics and that’s where the repetitive nature of the plot works to its advantage. The final act of the film is very similar to the first film but the outcomes completely different because of what this film is trying to get across with its themes.
Bad Neighbours 2 is not the best comedy sequel but it is still very good. If you loved the first one, you’ll love this one and if the first one did nothing for you then maybe skip it. It’s a comedy with heart and great performances that does justice to its themes and has a story worth watching.