Neighbors is a good flick. Funny, raunchy, Rose Byrne in full use of her lovely accent – a minor comedic gem that I find myself going back to more often than I expected. Is it sequel worthy? With Seth Rogen somehow involved, probably.
At this point in my relationship with Seth Rogen as a force in Hollywood, I’m ready to follow him about anywhere. He’s the type of actor that because of his beginnings – well made raunch comedy before well made raunch comedy was socially acceptable – struggles sometimes with credibility. That said, look at his filmography – it’s kind of amazing. Outside of Guilt Trip (which for a road trip film starring Rogen and Barbara Streisand, is nothing more than inoffensive), there’s almost nothing that Rogen has been a part of that isn’t, accounting for taste of course, entirely enjoyable and, if you dig just a hair deeper than the weed jokes and sex, pretty fucking smart. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising follows this trend, improving upon the originals themes of personal growth, while expanding the world these immature adult-children exist in. Watch the trailers and you think, “Oh, it’s like the first one but instead of frats fucking up their stuff, slutty girls are fucking up their stuff.” And yes, there are some ladies doing bad things in this (played with grace and charm by Chloe Moretz, Kiersey Clemons, and Beanie Feldstein) but where the first film addressed just how scary realizing you’re an adult is through the worldview of Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), the second film is about just how scary it is to step away from the crown, to try to push back on the shit this world tosses at us. Briefly: sororities can’t have parties, and frat parties are date-rape festivals, so the girls of the newly formed Kappa Nu move in next door to Mac, Kelly, and their adorable daughter Stella, just as they’re on the verge of selling their house, as long as someone doesn’t fuck it up. Zac Efron is involved. The girls of Kappa Nu go on the offensive against Mac and Kelly. Lessons are learned. But at the end of the day the film, which hurtles along with brief stops for some truly hilarious moments, is a slap in the face to every dick-forward, bro-comedy we’ve had shoved down our face in the last, well, since comedy was invented. I don’t know how a bunch of white guys got in a room and wrote a beautiful feminist film that still jokes about tampons and sex, but they did, and it’s the type of thing that when your daughters are ready for tampons, weed, and sex jokes, they should be forced to watch Neighbors 2. It pulls off the bro-layer of this sort of stereotypical genre, and reveals once again, just how powerful a film that features a baby’s first vibrator and date rape jokes can be.
One Last Thought:
I was worried about Rogen’s Preacher series, and now I’m ashamed I ever doubted him.