Film review: Bad Neighbours 2 – Does it hit the spot?

After the phenomenal success of Captain America: Civil War, the multiplexes have calmed down a little; that is until the release of X-Men: Apocalypse next week.

Sandwiched in between these two box-office behemoths is the sequel to Universal Studio’s surprise comedy hit, Bad Neighbours. But does another helping of Seth Rogen and Zac Efron’s adult humour hit the spot?

It’s fair to say that these films have a target audience firmly in mind. The first film was received best by university students and younger men according to box-office analysts and managed to gross a whopping $270m on an $18m budget – a sequel, whilst completely unnecessary, was as likely as an April shower.

Bad Neighbours 2 follows a very well-worn path, so well-worn in fact that it shoehorns the exact same premise from its predecessor into another 90 minute comedy, with just a few new twists and turns to stop it from being a carbon copy.

So, what are these twists and turns I hear you cry? Well, for one, Zac Efron’s Teddy Sanders is all grown up, returning to help Seth Rogen’s Mac, and Rose Byrne’s Kelly face-off against a sorority (instead of a fraternity) – headed by the excellent Chloe Grace Moretz.

Plot wise, that’s about it; in fact there is no plot to speak off and the real highlight in this simple film are the reams and reams of adult gags. The majority of them hit the spot; a brilliantly shot sequence at a college ‘festival’ is absolutely hilarious, and then a few of them don’t – but that’s to be expected in any comedy.

When it comes to the acting, it’s a by-the-numbers affair. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are dependable with the latter’s credentials in the genre expanding by the day. From Bridesmaids to Spy, she’s fast becoming a new comedy star, and there’s no complaint from me there.

Zac Efron is now utterly typecast but I doubt he’ll care if his movies keep packing out cinemas across the world. Despite his usual reliable performances, he’s starting to look a little older than his ‘frat boy’ characters would have you believe and if he can’t shake off that tag, he’ll end up in the bargain bins alongside Tobey Maguire. That’s a shame, as his more serious roles prove he has the acting chops to go with his good looks.

Elsewhere, Chloe Grace Moretz is the only sorority girl to make an impact and her sweet, if predictable backstory provide Bad Neighbours 2 with its only real sense of emotion.

Overall, Bad Neighbours 2 is a very funny adult comedy despite its lack of plot and the by-the-numbers casting. Returning director Nicholas Stoller has introduced a more female-orientated film that will no doubt pay dividends at the box-office. It definitely wasn’t needed, but as is the case in the film world, money talks.

Bad Neighbours 2 rating: 6/10