R Dir: Nicholas Stoller | Universal | 1h 32min
Plot: What’s it about?
A couple of years ago we were treated to Neighbors which became a surprise hit in the spring of 2014. We knew a sequel would be inevitable and I think this is one of the few films in which Seth Rogen didn’t play a stoner. Well, he did, but just a grown up version of himself. Compare that to Zac Efron who is still trying to shed his High School Musical days and enter the world as a “serious actor.” Ok, if that’s the case then why would he appear in this? I don’t have the answer to that question. Enter Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and, boom, there’s your sequel. But as is the case with most sequels, it didn’t seem to live up to the precedent the first one set? That’s a pratfall that the Jump Street films managed to avoid, with the second actually improving on the first (at least in my humble opinion). With a sequel that’s essentially the same as the first film, those who enjoyed it the first time should enjoy it again, right? I guess not.
Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are expecting a new child and have managed to sell their house. However it’s in Escrow, meaning that the potential buyers have 30 days to back out of the sale if they so choose. In an effort to buy their “dream house” Mac and Kelly have forgone Escrow on their new pad and, as such, are counting on the sale of this house to finance the new one. What could possibly go wrong? Enter the girls of Kappa Nu, led by Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz), someone who can’t seem to get over the fact that sororities aren’t allowed to throw parties. Her solution is to start her own sorority off campus where they can, you guessed it, throw parties. Shelby, with friends in tow and with Teddy (Zac Efron) as their “guardian angel” of sorts, quickly send Mac and Kelly off the deep end. Will Mac and Kelly be able to settle things and sell their house or will the ladies of Kappa Nu have the final say?
I’m a big believer in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of thought. I enjoyed Neighbors and will likely watch it once a year. So, logically, I’d enjoy the sequel. And I did. But there’s giving the audience what it wants and then there’s an utter lack of creativity and I think that’s what we’ve got here. I’m also a big fan of Chloë Grace Moretz and as her roles become more adult in nature, I’m sure she’ll blossom into a fine, adult-oriented actress. Still, she’s in that “college” time of her life and this was the perfect opportunity for her to showcase that. I still can’t figure out if Rose Byrne’s character is supposed to have an Australian accent or if she just kind of slipped in and out of it during the shoot. Nevertheless, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising gives you more of what you (supposedly) liked in the first installment. That’s the last time I’ll say that.
Video: How’s it look?
I’m running out of ways to approach some of these new to Blu-ray films, but as we might expect the 2.40:1 AVC HD image on Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is just what we’d expect – an excellent-looking transfer of a new movie. There are some rather interesting party scenes in which neon is used, which contrasted nicely with the dark interior. Flesh tones are warm and natural, Rogen’s pale color contrasts nicely with Efron’s bronze physique. Detail is on the money as well, though there are a few scenes in which I wish the detail wasn’t quite as good as it was (when you see them, you’ll understand). All in all Universal has done a fine job here, as we’d expect.
Audio: How’s it sound?
It’s not often that a comedy has an amazing soundtrack, but I have to say that this movie had some scenes that literally rocked the house. There are several party scenes with music blaring in the background that really made the surrounds come alive. Vocals are crisp and clear and the LFE even had a few times to shine. While the front stage took the brunt of the audio, I still found my head turning a few times to “follow” the sound. This is a rich, robust DTS HD Master Audio mix and it’s sure to please.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Nicholas Stoller and Producer James Weaver discuss the film, how they planned to make it different than the first, the returning cast and some of the other nuances in the movie.
- Deleted Scenes – Nearly 30 minutes of deleted scenes makes me wonder why they didn’t just put some of these in and make an unrated edition?
- Gag Reel – Shenanigans on the set!
- Line-O-Rama – As per usual, it’s just a smattering of alternate takes which is basically the same thing as above.
- Nu Neighbors – The obligatory “Making of…” segment that focuses on improving on the first, making it different, some casting choices and such.
- The Prodigal Bros Return – The major players in the film are profiled as well as a brief montage of clips from the film including the “selfie” shot.
- Girls Rule – Pretty much the same as above, only this focuses on the women of Kappa Nu.
- The Ultimate Tailgate – The “money shot” of the film, features how it was staged and shot and put into the film.
The Bottom Line
While not a “fraternity” movie per se, those who enjoyed the first one will likely find things about this one as well. Yes, it’s a bit predictable, but it’s fun and has enough humor to keep you entertained – at least until your next keg party. The Blu-ray both looks and sounds good and the disc has enough supplemental material to warrant a purchase.