Combustible Celluloid
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With: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ike Barinholtz, Kiersey Clemons, Beanie Feldstein, Carla Gallo, Dave Franco, Liz Cackowski, Billy Eichner, Selena Gomez, Kelsey Grammer, Lisa Kudrow, Sam Richardson, Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Hannibal Buress, Brian Husky, Awkwafina, Elise Vargas, Zoey Vargas
Written by: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O'Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content including brief graphic nudity, language throughout, drug use and teen partying
Running Time: 92
Date: 05/20/2016

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Shove Thy 'Neighbors'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Late in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Seth Rogen's Mac Radner accepts a bucket of money and yells "We won! F--- you!" Which pretty much sums up the attitude of this vacant, needless sequel. The barely passable 2014 original Neighbors made an unholy $150 million, from an $18 million budget. But this sequel looks as if everyone involved accepted a large paycheck, and then came up with a movie that seems expelled from some collective digestive tract. It's little more than an unsightly stain. The pace is frantic and flailing, as if the filmmakers were waving their arms, trying to distract viewers from thinking about the money and time they've wasted.

Chloe Grace Moretz enters the story as a new student who forms a sorority so she can party with her new pals (Kiersey Clemons and Beanie Feldstein). Former frat boy Zac Efron joins forces with hapless, idiotic parents Rogen and Rose Byrne to stop them. The movie tosses around a half-hearted message about female empowerment, but also ogles bikini babes and includes a recurring (oh, does it recur) joke about a girl toddler with a vibrator. Not one character is smart or even lifelike, though at least Efron — with his vacant eyes and absent personality — is a believable moron (he doesn't know that boiling water is hot). It's sometimes satisfying, and gratifying, to see the characters occasionally pummeled and slammed in lifeless slapstick gags, but there is not one genuine laugh, giggle, or smile to be had among these Neighbors.

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