I’m going to be frank with you all – I’m not going to spend a heap of time on this release. Which may go some way towards how I felt about “Bad Neighbours 2”, but I remember the first movie being good fun at the same time. Nothing to hold a candle to the likes of “22 Jump Street”, but not bad all things considered.
But this sequel is a real mixed bag of intentions and necessity for existence. Essentially, you have a story line that runs through many of the same beats. This time instead of a Frat House opening next door, it is a Sorority which wishes to be able to party on its own terms. Time has moved on along with the parents Mac (Seth Rogan) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), but their everyday problems being a plain middle-class white couple seem to be a continuing pivot point for the jokes and quibbles.
But of course, the movie must now take into consideration recent developments in the new world. Such as inequality! And gender! And double standards! And… yeah, you can probably guess that they don’t do an entirely good job at it. Sure, some moments did give me a chuckle, I did indeed like the development of the girls making their own Sorority simply because they just wanted to have a damm good time in college without the usual Frat stereotypes placed upon them. And now and then, the next-door couple would have a little moment of good comedy.
What struck me in this however was how scattered and mid-directed the comedy was. Things can swing wildly from mildly funny to terribly lame in an instant. The big agenda the movie seems to find incredibly new and important is mixed through with moments of flat-out racism, leaving you wondering what the hell their goal is at all. It seems really odd that in a film that was taking things less seriously, they might have gotten away with little bits of that.
As for the rest, it is laboriously similar to the previous entry. It follows a lot of the same beats and plot points, meaning that where before some scenes would have felt interesting, they now seem a bit timid and unappealing. The over-play of major scenes in the trailers makes them dull to see in the feature too – a trap comedies can fall for extremely easily. Most of the comedy you will find is relatively low-key.
The performances are okay, I think the three Sorority starters feel the most at home with the movie they are in. Poor Zac Efron’s character switches personalities and motivations so much that I doubt even he knew what the hell he was doing. There wasn’t enough from actors and actresses bouncing off of each other, eating the scenery and having fun with everything. That was what made the first movie fun. The lack of that aspect here brings all the flaws and rather flat writing to the surface, with nothing to hide it.
“Bad Neighbours 2” isn’t terrible, neither is it even bad. But the lack of engagement between the characters, along with this weird drive to get hip with “new modern ideas”, had me wishing they’d drop the facade and just focus on a solid comedy. There was some potential here, good moments and giggles that surprised me when they happened, but just not enough to sustain the entirety of the running time. If you really, REALLY need to watch a comedy this weekend….. I guess this will be alright. But you’ll forget it pretty quickly, this is ideal for when the queue on your streaming service has dried up, and only this remains.
Thanks for reading!