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Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Through a series of developments not worth delving into, Teddy winds up joining the Rudners in their manic efforts to shut down the hard-partying sorority, lest the new buyers stop by one night, take one look at the madness happening next door and back out of the deal.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

At a frat party and a sequence of sorority bashes, teens and twentysomethings routinely get high and drunk. Even in non-partying moments the girls make a habit out of passing around beer or a joint. Teddy and his friends drink beer and champagne, too.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is likely the first college comedy to show a frat party from a woman's perspective, and it is scary. The young sorority pledges trudge reluctantly through a creepy house infected by unsupervised male id, trying to avoid the grabby hands and drink offerings of their leering hosts. "I'm getting a really rape-y vibe," one of the girls says, as neon signs leading to the bedrooms read "Stairway to Heaven" and "No Means Yes." But three disgusted freshmen, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, Kiersey Clemons, and Beanie Feldstein, decide to build their own heaven instead: by launching an off-campus house where they can throw their own parties.

This is a really grim way to set the table for a movie where a shirtless Rogen sprints through a tailgate with a garbage bag full of marijuana. But one of Neighbors 2's unexpected charms is that it touches on such issues without trivializing them. The film's turning point is the (very real) fact that the National Panhellenic Conference bans U.S. sorority chapters from consuming alcohol in their own houses. The girls' plan to rent the house formerly occupied by Zac Efron's frat crew for partying purposes is an approach that could help curb campus rape in real life. But it's nevertheless bad news for the Radners next door (Rogen and Byrne), who have a little girl with another on the way, and who have just sold their house in escrow and need to keep shenanigans at bay for 30 days until they can close the deal.

The gender swap gives Rogen -- who co-wrote the script with writing partner Evan Goldberg and director Nicholas Stoller, with Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien -- a handy entry for a very welcome, though very ham-handedly delivered, feminist message. (The whole movie is built around the head-shaking fact that U.S. fraternities are allowed to throw keggers at will while booze is essentially banned in sorority houses.)

Somewhere on campus, a group of freshmen girls are gathered at a meeting for the sorority Phi Lamda. One girl, Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), sparks up a joint as the president (Selena Gomez) is speaking. She tells Shelby to put out the joint and says that sororities can't throw parties, so they just attend frat parties.

That night, Shelby meets two other freshmen, Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein). They attend a frat party, but they're all disgusted by the sexist and perverse nature of the party. They go back to their dorm to pass a joint, which is Nora's first time doing drugs. She immediately falls in love with them. The RA enters and scolds the girls for smoking weed. Shelby then stands up and says it's unfair that they have to subject to a misogynistic system and to be told what to do by men. They decide to create their own sorority, Kappa Nu.

Soon, the girls move in and throw their first party. Mac and Kelly walk over to meet their new neighbors, horrified to learn they are a sorority. The two ask Shelby to try and keep it down for the next month until they can move and be out of their hair, but Teddy appears and tells the Radners he's in cahoots with the sorority, meaning they'll have more trouble keeping the buyers from pulling out.

The sorority begins pranking the Radners. All the girls lay on their front lawn and then harass Mac as he gets in his car, while Kelly sprays them with a hose (making them sexier, according to Mac), and then they later throw used tampons at their window. They also throw loud parties and even cry out loud when they have a viewing party for "The Fault in Our Stars". Mac and Kelly report them to Dean Gladstone (Lisa Kudrow), but she can't do anything because they are an independent sorority. Mac gets Jimmy to help him retaliate by getting bugs and infecting the whole house, forcing the girls to pay for an exterminator to fumigate the house.

Teddy decides to join forces with the Radners (plus Jimmy and Paula) to take down the sorority. They all go to the tailgate event to steal the weed. Teddy distracts the girls by dancing onstage without his shirt while Mac runs around stealing the weed in a garbage bag. Teddy loses attention when he decides to whip it out, and Shelby sees Mac taking the weed. Mac runs for it and switches bags with Jimmy.

The girls' next move involves Shelby and Beth switching Mac and Kelly's phones with their own. They get Kelly to think Mac is somewhere that only Jimmy knows, so she and Paula interrogate him at work. Mac ends up being led to Sydney, Australia because of the girls. When he gets back, Mac and Kelly find that they've been robbed and the sorority is selling their stuff and spray-painted "Kappa Nu" on the house. This causes the Baiers' to pull out from the deal. The Radners then freak out and think they've done a bad job with themselves and as parents to Stella.

The girls then realize they hate the way the party is going since the frat boys are being crude and perverted. Beth and Nora decide to quit the sorority and blame Shelby for the disaster, leading the other girls to leave as well. Mac and Kelly watch, thinking they've won. Shelby stops them and says she only started this to have friends, unlike in high school when she had no one. The other girls cry and bemoan not having their new friends anymore, making Mac and Kelly start to feel sorry for them. Kelly encourages the girls to go back to what they believed in before they sold out. The girls then kick the frat boys out and have a normal party. This attracts all of the Phi Lamda girls, who want to pledge for Kappa Nu. By the end of the night, the girls make enough money not only to keep their house, but to give back to Mac and Kelly so they can buy the house due to overflowing pledges. Mac and Kelly happily agree, as long as they get five buckets of money per month. Meanwhile, Paula is going into labor, which she doesn't know about until the baby's leg is sticking out.

Meanwhile Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz), a freshman, is appalled to learn that sororities are not allowed to have parties. (She learns this when Selena Gomez, in a cameo as the sorority president, makes her put out her joint.) Shelby and a couple of friends (Kiersey Clemons, Beanie Feldstein) go to a frat party but hate the date-rape culture, so they decide to start a sorority of their own.

Two years after feuding with a rowdy frat that moved next door to them, young parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are about to have their second child and move to a new house. Unfortunately, their attempts to sell their current home hit a snag when a sorority led by a rebellious college student (Chloë Grace Moretz) become their new neighbors. Desperate to get rid of the hard-partying gals, the couple forge an alliance with Teddy (Zac Efron), the former fratboy who tormented them the last time around.

Parents need to know that Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is, like the first Neighbors, a hard-R comedy featuring tons of crass jokes, strong language, and almost non-stop underage substance use (mostly marijuana and beer) -- this time with even younger central characters (the sorority is started by first-year students). Once again starring Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, and Rose Byrne, this sorority-themed sequel nominally offers a girl-empowerment theme ... for the young women's right to party hard (albeit without sexually aggressive fraternity guys to bother them). Expect nonstop swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and much more), drinking, drug use, and sex talk, with a few played-for-humor scenes of marital (and mid-pregnancy) sex thrown in, as well as one provocative strip dance by Efron's in which he goes full monty (but the camera shot is from behind, so only fake testicles are visible). It's not exactly Norma Rae or A League of Their Own, but the movie does bring up compelling issues about the double standards in Greek life, how girls deserve to have fun without feeling unsafe or harassed, and why the idea of "girls behaving badly" upsets people more than "boys will be boys."

NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING opens a couple of years after the original, with Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) Radner finding out they're expecting baby number two and putting their house on the market. All they have to do is wait out the 30-day escrow for the new owners to close. Unfortunately, the eight-bedroom house next door is about to be rented by a group of first-year students who start their own sorority, Kappa Nu, so they can throw their own parties without feeling like a fraternity bro is just waiting to sexually assault them. Led by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons), and Nora (Beanie Feldstein, Jonah Hill's lookalike younger sister), the Kappa Nus cause a lot of chaos for the Radners, especially since their mentor is none other than Teddy (Zac Efron), who has returned to guide the sorority in the ways of profitable partying. But when the sisters get rid of "Old Person" Teddy, he switches sides and decides to help his former adversaries stop the girls from ruining the sale of their house.

Despite its socially aware jokes, this incredibly crass sequel isn't quite as memorable as the original, but the cast is undeniably having a grand time with their tried and true weed and sex humor. Efron once again shines as the hot-but-clueless-at-adulting Teddy, who realizes early on that the only thing he's really good at is planning a party. Thank goodness the screenwriters chose to make him "old" enough for the sorority girls to appreciate for his attractiveness without wanting to get with him, because that would've been all sorts of wrong in a comedy that purports to be about female empowerment. Moretz, Clemons, and Feldstein are all likable enough misfits who eschew the established sororities for their own brand of fun -- a haven for 18-year-old young women to dress as they are (hoodies and pajama pants!) and party without any leering guys trying to have sex with them. 041b061a72


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