After the surprisingly funny and very agreeable box office takings of ‘Bad Neighbours‘, it probably isn’t any shock that this movie came about. Though having said this it’s not like it was overly called for and upon seeing this sequel I have to say it feels deadly lacking of good laughs.
Now full time parents to little Stella, Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne) are moving on. They think they’ve sold their house but due to an escrow deal, they have 30 days to keep the buyers sweet to finish the agreement. Unluckily for them, the once empty frat house next door is being overtaken by a headstrong lass called Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) who starts her own partying sorority there and a new war begins.
Just looking at the writing team sparks trouble for this film, as there are five guys tackling this script making the finished product less than light and cohesive. It does make a difference truly as the 2014 movie only had two screenwriters. The saying of too many cooks spoiling the broth certainly rings true with most films I’ve seen with an over-abundance of writers. It’s like the quintet are teaming up for the bigger picture but want all their own touches involved too, amazingly the film doesn’t appear messy, it’s more hollow.
Nicholas Stoller is back to direct this feature and it certainly is a mad foray into the world of female partying and girl empowerment this time around. Though one negative is that this movie isn’t as over the top as last time, the interaction between the oldies and young blood isn’t anywhere near as cool, exciting and funnily tense and another negative is the whole gender scope the film runs with.
A lot of the time during the plot, it brings up issues of what girls can and cannot do, what Shelby believes a growing woman is entitled to and ultimately how the parents view it all considering their daughter. It’s a fine enough topic to shoot for but when scripted b 5 guys the whole thing feels forced and generally the film looks and sounds like it’s trying to be as funny as the first movie.
The soundtrack doesn’t live up to the hands in the air party vibe like the last time around. A blessed relief of Kanye West pumps up the cool and helps the film out but the songs aren’t as catchy or electric for this movie which doesn’t help the pacing a great deal. Also, I remember the first one being out there with sex, drugs and the like but this seems to go too far, a very open labour and foot scream of desperate clawing for OTT comedy…which no-one laughed at in my screening.
There are good moments though, there is still the same laughable chemistry between Byrne and Rogen, a frankly excellent confused spelling of sorority, the air bag idea is back with brilliant vengeance, the continuing void of parenting and dildo holding children is amusing and the little screen time of Dave Franco with Zac Efron is top notch. It’s a shame these positives feel mostly drowned out by a couple of needless gross out gags, a less exciting battle of the ages and emptiness of direction.
Seth Rogen is no good actor but his gurgled laugh and stoner like way he appears in every movie is what he does best and it’s no different here. He plays off the twin girls playing Stella very well and likewise with Rose Byrne he builds a believable bond. Chloe Grace Moretz doesn’t lift the film much at all sadly, she’s trying with a character of hoping to aspire to be a stronger girl but her breaking out against the ‘sexist’ world isn’t that compelling like Zac Efron who feels stitched on just to get the cast back together, him debating his life and choices is a dull part of the runtime. Rose Byrne has great comedic timing and shows she can be gross and less than perfect, though everyone provides a smile they don’t feel connected as with ‘Bad Neighbours’.
Sorority Rising feels more like it’s sinking as a small amount of laughs is gravely felt in all places, making us realise what is wrong with the film, music, direction, writing and the fact it’s trying to crackle in the surprise way the first did.