Bad Neighbours 2

 

star

 


The sorority sisters of Kappa Kappa Nu move next door to Mac and Kelly just as they're expecting their second child.

 

Bad Neighbours 2 

 

Artistically, it’s not been an estimable year for Zac Efron. After the shameful excesses of Dirty Grandpa, he now reprises his role as the narcissistic, arithmetically-challenged jock Teddy from Nicholas Stoller’s Bad Neighbours (2014). As with most sequels these days, this re-tread attempts to outdo the original by being even bigger, broader and baser. To set the timbre of what is to come, the film opens with a scene of flatulent fornication, culminating with Rose Byrne vomiting on Seth Rogen’s face. Of course, there are more prosaic ways for a husband to find out that his wife is pregnant.

 

Last time out, new parents Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Byrne) had declared war on the rowdy fraternity house next door. Now that their child is beginning to talk (its first word is a variation on “fuck,” of course), and Kelly is expecting again, an even bigger threat materialises in the form of an exceptionally disorderly sorority, led by the truculent virgin Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz). However, rent proves to be a problem for the girls, so they recruit the services of Teddy to help them raise the cash. And Teddy, who’s now got a criminal record thanks to Mac and Kelly, is only too eager to apply the war paint.

 

It should be pointed out that the sequel is co-scripted and co-produced by Seth Rogen, no stranger to the gross-out formula. And while he may be one of the most successful ‘comedians’ in Hollywood today, his skills are no match for the genius of his antecedents. Per se, he’s not a particularly funny guy – he more or less recycles the same character – and so needs to push the parameters of taste to get a reaction. Here, we have an abundance of abasement, from a toddler’s obsession with a dildo to a bombardment of bloodied tampons. It’s easy to offend, more difficult to rustle up a modicum of wit.

 

Some of this might have worked had the film any basis in reality. For starters, there’s a supernatural absence of other neighbours in the ‘hood, while the scene of a sister (Beanie Feldstein) flying through Seth Rogen’s car windscreen is technically impossible. Again under the direction of Stoller, the film falls back on all the clichés of the genre (slow motion, music video montages, shouting matches, drunken revelry, Zac Efron’s six-pack) without an original trick in its arsenal. Furthermore, the continuity is poor, the music selections unimaginative (do we really have to hear Eric Carmen sing ‘All By Myself’ again?) and the acting unconvincing (Kelsey Grammer’s attempt at crying might be a career low). But it’s the genuinely repellent gags one will remember, prompting one to wonder if there’s any topic off limits to the barbs of contemporary comedy. The dementia and incontinence of the elderly? Watch this space.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, Selena Gomez, Lisa Kudrow, Kiersey Clemons, Beanie Feldstein, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jerrod Carmichael, Liz Cackowski, LL Cool J, Kelsey Grammer.

 

Dir Nicholas Stoller, Pro Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Jamever, Screenplay Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O'Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Ph Brandon Trost, Pro Des Theresa Guleserian, Ed Zene Baker, Music Michael Andrews, Costumes Leesa Evans.

 

Point Grey Pictures/Good Universe-Universal Pictures 

92 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 6 May 2016. Cert. 15.