Monday, 9 May 2016

REVIEW - NEIGHBOURS 2: SORORITY RISING (NICHOLAS STOLLER)


Let's get on with it - after all, Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising sure does. A straightforward, unassuming sequel, it is at once an ideal accompaniment to its predecessor and an integrally questionable one. Neighbours 2 launches immediately into itself, recycling everything that made the first movie work with bewildering haste. Nothing especially new is being attempted here, in style and story alike, and Nicholas Stoller and co display a lack of concern for establishing their film's content with the relative diligence they displayed last time around. It's a remarkably rushed film, and charmingly so for those for whom this isn't their first time on the Neighbours lot. But in this endeavour, the film (which thus plays more like a B-side or a second chapter than an individual entity) can't help but feel a little stale. Maybe this is as good an excuse as any to jettison all the extra padding - normally essential things like proper conclusions to loose-thread subplots, introductions to characters etc. But since the very raison d'etre of Neighbours 2 is virtually identical to that of 2014's Neighbours, and since no real attention has been turned toward developing new comedic material, one queries the purpose of this film. Alas, naturally there is one, stressed early and often, possibly too often for those of us already committed to the cause, but you can't fault the writers' dedication in a comedy landscape still dominated by macho culture. Neighbours 2 is every bit the feminist manifesto (and, indeed, the overall equality manifesto) you didn't see coming, not least in that its MVP remains the peerless Rose Byrne. And it succeeds in juggling crudeness with kindness, fending off unnecessary offence. It earns its place alongside its comedy kin, defining itself as genuinely, meaningfully different from the film it's otherwise indistinguishable from.