Review: Limp and unnecessary low-brow comedy sequel

Matt Adcock reviews Bad Neighbours, starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Rose Byrne
Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron in Bad Neighbours 2Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron in Bad Neighbours 2
Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron in Bad Neighbours 2

Here we have perhaps the least needed sequel of the year. Bad Neighbours was a gross out blast of funny-students-vs-grown-ups neigbourly warfare, so Hollywood decided to reprise the exact same formula, literally the same jokes just replacing the hard partying boys with – wait for it – hard partying girls.

So this time we have homeowners and struggling parents Mac (Seth ‘The Night Before’ Rogen) and his wife Kelly (Rose ‘Spy’ Bryne) finding themselves up against a radical new college sorority of girls who have decided to move in to the old ‘Frat House’ next door.

The timing couldn’t be worse as the couple are trying to sell their property to jumpy new buyers.

Also on hand is Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) – the leader of the Frat House in the original film who this time gets caught up in both sides of the raucous escalating pranks and consequences.

Cue sex jokes, drug jokes, cussing and inappropriate behaviour, most of which feels a bit like a ‘not quite as good’ rerun of the original.

Yes, you’ll laugh in a few places but Bad Neighbours 2 is wearyingly lazy and neither as shockingly gross or as genuinely funny as the original, which is a shame for fans.

Kudos to the writer / director Stoller for trying to at least injecting some female empowerment and anti misogynistic messaging (perhaps trying to add some balance to the first film’s narrative).

The sorority girls led by Shelby (Chloe Grace ‘Kick Ass’ Moretz) with her pals Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) call out the ‘rapey’ culture of frat parties and try to create a space for girls to be able to party how they want – without having to dress sexy for the boys.

Alas this well-intentioned messaging isn’t followed through with enough conviction so it ends up feeling like a bit of a gimmick.

The comedy is also diluted by the sombre sub-plots about Teddy, who has struggled to adjust to adult life after college and the strain on his friendship with Delta Psi bro Pete (Dave Franco) who wants to move on with his life after coming out of the closet.

Overall Bad Neighbours 2 is an adequate low-brow comedy option, a limper follow up which really doesn’t warrant any further Neighbourly sequels.

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