Bad Neighbours 2 a sequel worth celebrating


Zac Efron and Seth Rogen.
Zac Efron and Seth Rogen.

YOUNG bros seeking a drug and alcohol-fuelled college party film filled to the brim with bikini-clad jailbait a la Project X may get a shock.

Less interested in debauchery than it is about using the platform for some social commentary on feminism, female equality and the role of women in comedy films, Bad Neighbours 2 is a genuinely refreshing sequel treat that left me on a cinematic high.

The happy couple from part one, Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) Radner have enjoyed a peaceful existence since getting rid of the rowdy fraternity next door.

Now with another baby on the way, it is time for them to move on and upgrade to a bigger home.

Meanwhile, three high school outcasts, led by Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz) create their own sorority when they get to college and realise only the boys can host parties and there is some prime real estate right next door to the Radners that would be a great spot for some fundraising shindigs.

The issue this time is that the Radners’ property is in escrow, which means the potential buyers can pop by any time to inspect the property, and they are unlikely to be keen on the young new neighbours next door.

They enlist the help of their former enemy Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), who is having trouble finding his purpose in life.

Determined to make the gender flip more than a gimmick and thinly veiled excuse for round 2, the five credited writers have taken the opportunity to explore what it actually means to mix it up, gender-wise; which is that the girls can be and are just as funny and cheeky as the boys.

It is a lesson for Teddy and the audience, some of whom might well have contributed to the trailer for the all-female Ghostbusters remake being crowned the most disliked trailer on Youtube (712,600 and counting).

The script challenges gender stereotypes (the hunky, popular Teddy is now struggling in the real world and the girls enjoy contraband), never judges the engagement of a gay couple or employs it for laughs and all without feeling like a lecture.

An added bonus is that dudes and bros may even learn something about respecting women.

You don’t get that from too many comedy sequels.

THE ESSENTIALS

Bad Neighbours 2 (MA)

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller

Starring: Seth Rogen, Chloë Grace Moretz, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne

Four and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In cinemas now