“Stop it. You’re only making them sexier.”
2014’s Bad Neighbours (or Neighbours in countries where audiences are trusted to not confuse it with the shitty Australian daytime soap opera) was a surprisingly good film. Not being much of a fan of stars Seth Rogen or Zack Efron, it came out of left field as one of the better comedies of the year, getting some real laughs out of me. It went on to make an absolute fortune and gave us weeks of stupid Twitter headlines of how it “Revitalised the R-Rated comedy genre”. There was never doubt that there was going to be a sequel, but the question was always going to be if it’s stars could repeat its success.
After successfully seeing off Teddy (Efron) and his imbecilic fraternity and moving on with their lives, Mac and Kelly Radner (Rogen and Rose Byrne) discover they are pregnant with their second child and decide it’s time to move to a bigger house. They sell their home and head into escrow – essentially a 30 day cool-down period where a buyer can pull out – but just as they do that, a handful of girls, led by Chloe Moretz’s Shelby, hoping to buck a trend of party-free sororities move in next door and cause all manner of mayhem.
Desperate to get the girls out and not have their potential buyer put off by the large amounts of underage clam next door, the parents call upon the services of the man that nearly beat them the last time, fraternity God Teddy. As guerrilla warfare ensues and both sides throw big punches, only one can come out on top.
Let’s make this short and sweet. This film is fucking ghastly. It’s not a scratch on the first one and absolutely falls into that Hangover thing where just because one is great, it’s assumed that another film with all the same jokes will be ok. It won’t. It isn’t. Fuck you for thinking it is.
The film tries to convince you that it’s about women empowering themselves and not wanting to be pigeon holed by society – and more important to them, the fraternities that seem to have the “right” to party where they don’t.
This is all great and you might even be on their side, until one of the Radner’s fire a shot across the bow and their retaliation is to all hang out on their porch wearing bikinis that barely cover their nipples and writhe across the bonnet of Mac’s car when Kelly comes at them with a garden hose – something the girls react far worse to a little later on when it’s a pissed frat kid with a super soaker, the hypocritical twats.
Efron gets his abs, and his balls, out – proving to us all after his dreadful Dirty Grandpa stint that he’s simply not meant for this shit. While Rogen tries to call back to the weed and dick jokes that got him here but trips over the used condom on the floor filled with the remnant of what used to be actual comedy and landing flat on his face. But it’s ok, because by the time we get to the end, and we discover it’s all really about how being in one of these snobby, elitist circle jerks leads to having lifelong friends. And guys, that the most important thing in the whole wide world.
Just, piss off.
Bad Neighbours 2 is the worst of the Hollywood sequel machine. Removing all of what made the original great and trying to sell it to you on the “remember that film you liked so much, here it is again” school of thinking. It’s not the first film this year whose best jokes aren’t only in the trailer, but completely missing from the film altogether – did I dream LL Cool J waving a twelve inch black rubber dick around in a trailer for this? I mean, it’s not entirely implausible, I’ve had weirder dreams.
It’s a film that bases almost all of its *cough* laughs around jokes carbon copied from the original; and a wholly unfunny running gag where a toddler plays with her mums dildo, clinging onto it like a security blanket and everyone seems to think this is completely normal and not at all bizarre behaviour. Oh, and the absolutely hilarious bit where Rose Byrne blurts out “Black cock” in front of a black dude. Comedy. Fucking. Genius.
I mean, it’s possible I’m wrong. Very possible. After all, the screening I was in was filled with people howling with laughter. But they were also all laughing at that horrific fucking Keith Lemon Carphone Warehouse ad that was on just before the film started, so… Make of that what you will.
A complete waste of an hour and a half of my life, you could go and watch this film if you were really desperate for someone to do. But personally I would recommend the far less painful torture of repeatedly trying to staple your balls to a rugby ball.