When I saw the first Bad Neighbours, I thought it was a bit of a triumph. Maybe I wasn’t expecting too much but then what can you expect from a Seth Rogen movie? Don’t get me wrong, I like him a lot and always find myself laughing through his movies but you know what you’re going to get.
What I found with Bad Neighbours was a slapstick film full of pranks, modern family based humour and some tender moments. I went to the cinema to watch something that’d make me laugh, need minimal concentration and give me the level of enjoyment I needed on a Sunday evening and I got that.
The problem with any sequel is that it’s always going to be compared to the first. There are lots of occasions where the little sister has bested the older sibling and occasions where the big brother remains the dominant force of the franchise. Bad Neighbours 2 falls into the latter category.
There are some genuinely funny moments in the movie that had me laughing out loud and in the main they came from Rose Byrne, Rogen and the brilliant Zak Efron. Character wise though, that’s about as much as I can remember.
The other faction of the war comes in the form of the sorority and for me, this is where the film lets itself down. In the first movie, the fraternity was genuinely funny every second they were on screen. The pranks were funny and original and THAT Robert De Niro scene was genius. I never got those kind of laughs from Chloë Grace Moretz et al, rather, I was left waiting for them to really get going.
Whilst they were funny in parts, I found their escapades a little Diet Coke compared to their male ‘full fat Coke’ counterparts. It’s a shame because there was a really strong/positive message in there about equality and the role of women in society but with the lack of laughs from that side, the balance wasn’t right for a comedy and it felt a little preachy.
The last point I’ll make about the sorority is that Hollywood seems to have tapped into this ideology that larger ladies are crazier and ditsier. Bad Neighbours 2 falls into that ideology and I was really disappointed with the movie taking that route. It’s been done before, and better, in movies like Pitch Perfect, and I thought it took something away from a movie that tried to be full of strong female characters.
The stand out character of Bad Neighbours 2 was Zak Efron. He’s turning into a brilliant comic actor and his timing, facial expressions and presence is all on point, pointing to a really promising, long career. If he wasn’t cast in the movie, I really think it’d be all the worse for his absence.
I don’t want this review to come across as harsh because I didn’t come out of the theatre hating the movie. I laughed out loud more times than I can remember and whilst I felt it was lacking in certain parts, it was an able sequel that’ll give you what you’re looking for in a comedy.
2* - Your favourite car that you just can’t get started.