I’m not sure what happened in the two years since Neighbors hit theaters. Back in May 2014, I gave the film a 4.5-star review and said, “Not only is it a well-scripted, riotous comedy that will more than satisfy its target audience, it takes things up a notch further with notable performances by Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron.”
In advance of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, I actually went back and re-watched some of the original, and sure enough, it really was good– wildly over-the-top and certainly juvenile and consistently raunchy… but good.
So how come barely two minutes into the sequel I’m ready to walk out of the theater?
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that in those first two minutes Byrne vomits on Rogen in the middle of sex, and then their three-year-old daughter walks in brandishing a sex toy.
Actually, had I not been sworn to uphold my solemn and sacred duties as a movie critic, there’s a very good chance I would have indeed walked out of Neighbors 2. And it probably would have happened right around the time that a particularly obnoxious gaggle of pseudo-sorority sisters assaulted Rogen and Byrne’s house with a barrage of freshly-used tampons.
Or maybe it would have been during that part when the doting parents allowed their daughter to not only continue playing with the sex toy but also helped her dress it up like a Barbie.
Then again, there’s nothing to say it wouldn’t have been that part where we saw a fetus’s foot dangle out of his pregnant mother’s hoo-ha.
Most likely, though, it would have been when I realized that the movie was pretending to masquerade itself as a bastion for feminism, all the while offering more and more misogynistic “humor”.
I know, I know– I’m not exactly the target audience (having not done a kegstand since the early 90s), but, again, I’ll argue with anyone who doesn’t agree that the original film was legitimately funny. And, to be fair, there are a handful of legitimately solid moments in the sequel, too. But does laughing a few times outweigh the misery of an otherwise god-awful movie?
Clearly the problem here is that the original movie was so successful. Anytime an $18 million movie makes $270 million worldwide, it’s a no-brainer (literally) that the studio will move heaven and earth to get a sequel done. Yesterday. …when they should have just left well enough alone.
When the studio wants a sequel, and the filmmakers didn’t have any original designs on making one, the easiest thing to do is to just half-ass it. Content to just recycle the same jokes or, worse yet, apparently give us the jokes that were relegated to the cutting room floor the first time around, the five-man writing team, director Nicholas Stoller, and the cast make no effort whatsoever, other than to think like a pre-teen, and out-gross, out-profane, and out-offend as many people as possible.
The result, as you might expect, is the most colossal waste of time at the movies so far this year. And yes, that’s counting Batman v Superman. And The Boss.