When a movie opens with a wife vomiting onto her husband’s face during coitus and then introduces their toddler playing with a sex toy, a question immediately pops to mind: Where can it go from here?
When the supposed comedy you’re being exposed to starts in the subbasement of taste, you might think the only direction things go from there is up.
“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” can’t go any lower — subbasements are as low as it gets — but it goes no higher, either. Straight line, flatline, on and on to more of the same.
Never miss a local story.
The characters, without exception, are disagreeable idiots, shrilly performed. Mark this one down as a sequel that should never have been made.
Which is to say, for starters, that the toddler/sex toy sight gag is repeated ad nauseum. And from a Cosby joke uttered at a party where the the punch has been spiked with the date-rape drug Rohypnol, to a casually tossed-off joke featuring the words “a Jew in the oven” “Neighbors 2” takes adolescent glee in being offensive for offensiveness’ own curdled sake.
Returning are stars Zac Efron, Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen, who also co-wrote the script, along with four other credited writers. It took five writers to come up with this. The mind reels.
The original pitted the married-with-infant and coping with adulthood characters played by Rogen and Byrne against noisy next-door wild partying frat boys headed by Efron’s characters. For the sequel, the frat louts are gone but a group of freshmen college girls led by a character played by Chloë Grace Moretz, move into the now-vacant frat house with the intent of forming a party-hearty sorority. This brings them into conflict with the next-door parents and a war of mean-spirited pranks ensues.
The gender politics are very strange, as the young ladies want to be as crass as the guys — drink, drug, sex it up — because that is somehow perceived to be empowering.
The characters, without exception, are disagreeable idiots, shrilly performed.
Mark this one down as a sequel that should never have been made.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
☆ out of 5
Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz.
Director: Nicholas Stoller.
Running time: 1:34.
Rated: R, for crude sexual content including brief graphic nudity, language throughout, drug use and teen partying.