The battle of the burbs is back in Bad Neighbours 2!
When a sorority moves in next door, Mac and Kelly (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) must enlist the help of former neighbour Teddy (Zac Efron) to get rid of them so they can sell their house. It might look like a similar formula to the first one, but it’s got more stakes, more depth, and is more fun.
Rather than doing the exact same thing (like most comedy sequels), in Bad Neighbours 2 everyone has a reason for doing the things they do, and, as well as creating much more complex characters, this enriches the plot and makes things much more interesting, even more so than the original. Mac and Kelly have already bought another house, and must sell their house to avoid going bankrupt, and are worried that they’re bad parents of their little Stella; Teddy is lost and unemployed, and feeling useless as his friends become successful and happy.
And our new sorority girls – Shelby (Chloe Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) – are sick of the sexist frat parties and rules surrounding sororities (apparently sororities can’t party in their own houses – and Seth Rogen swears it’s true), so they set up their own sorority to mke friends and do what they like. It really highlighted the absurdity of the sexist double standards of college life, and it was meaningful but not preachy, mostly because of the humour.
Bad Neighbours 2 was really funny (despite some cliché weed jokes and an uninspired Minions gag), and there were some pretty original gags and recurring jokes, like a tampon throwing scene and a clown mask, that made it feel a little bit smarter.
Pretty much all of the original cast returns: love him or hate him, Seth Rogen gives a typical Seth Rogen performance, but he does have great chemistry with the rest of the cast. Rose Byrne is great as Kelly, more than just a typical nagging comedy wife – she actually orchestrates many of the schemes. Zac Efron may still be objectified, but he is still hilarious, continuing his funny streak but also giving Teddy some heart and depth. And Chloe Moretz’s character, despite appearing as ‘the antagonist’, is much more complicated than that; she’s a good friend, and a strong woman, who stands up for what she believes in, and, as well as being really funny, she makes you decisive over who should come out on top.
It’s not a perfect comedy; it’s quite formulaic, with a few typical jokes, a bit of objectification, and some shock value. But it’s also smarter than itself. As well as the undercurrent issue it addresses, it has strong, affective characters, some great gags, and more than just a copy-paste plot. It’s not quite a 22 Jump Street, but Bad Neighbours 2 had an edge over the first that makes it a very enjoyable sequel.
And, here’s my list of the top 5 best films starring the cast of Bad Neighbours 2:
- X Men: First Class – Rose Byrne
- Kung Fu Panda – Seth Rogen
- The Lucky One – Zac Efron
- Sisters – Ike Barinholtz
- Parks and Recreation – Billy Eichner