Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Blu-ray Review

Neighbors 3: Political Campaign

The first Neighbors concerned a middle class suburban couple under assault by a next door fraternity. A weird, excessive, and often ridiculous comedy, but funny. What an odd stage then for a debate on campus rape culture, women’s rights, and sexism, as written entirely by a male cast.

South Park attempted the same thing in its 19th season, albeit with a different perspective. Neighbors though, that not-fit-for-a-sequel, boisterous mainstream comedy, finds itself caught up in a furor over inequality. Chloe Grace Moretz leads a small trio of freshmen women furious over anti-sorority party policies. They set up off campus to avoid the rule, and of course, the location is next door to Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne).

In a way, the Nicholas Stoller-directed sequel squeamishly bounces somewhere near the middle of the issue(s). While the off-putting depiction of masculine culture and fraternity sex rooms – adorned with Christmas lights strung up in the shape of a penis – isn’t subtle, adult conversations tackle the absurdity of a PC culture. It’s not in balance, rather an unclear and unsure statement fitted between pounds (literally) of pot jokes and kids playing with dildos. Early, the sorority tears off Mac’s clothes, cover his car with their bikini-clad bodies, and Kelly douses them all with water. We’re in a strange phase of empowerment.

… a near indecipherable, inconsistent essay in script form on modern feminism.

Comedic antics clash with the social criticism, the latter reaching a gaudy peak with a section concerning police violence. The actual back-and-forth war, with Mac and Kelly terrified over their escrow situation as the sorority parties next door, is indifferent. Propped up an anti-campus culture theme then sinking into drunken party, roofie, and pot jokes, it’s a wonder how anything in Neighbors 2 works in tandem with the rest.

Neighbors 2 is funny, separated from the erratic thematic qualities. The script’s revisited gags have momentum, and recurring jokes carry the film through a brisk 90-minutes. Too many contemporary comedies don’t quit when the time comes.

In-between though is a near indecipherable, inconsistent essay in script form on modern feminism. Moretz’s stand for equality works on some level. After all, the contrast drawn between sorority and fraternity behavior finds merit, yet this comes in a movie where people are nearly killed by airbag stunts and a Bill Cosby joke is minutes away. Somewhere in the mix comes a gay wedding, OD’ing the senseless comedy on social issues. It’s right, but in the wrong place.

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Video

Perfectly suitable digital video: It’s an easy summary for Neighbors 2, fairly plain if strong in fidelity. Throughout, close-ups produce extensive facial definition with surprising consistency considering the frequent changes in lighting.

Doused in party scenes, the constant battles with darkness elicit strong results in terms of depth and black level stability. Pleasing shadows merge with highlights, whether strobe lights or otherwise. High resolution maintains clarity even when the screen crowds with bodies.

Adequate flesh tones match the rest of the color, passive and sharp but low on bite. Holding to a slightly dry saturation makes Neighbors 2 visually different from those comedies bursting with primaries. Outside of the isolated color caused by interior lighting, few scenes feel impacted by any sort of digital color grading and in that respect, it’s pleasing.

Audio

Universal’s DTS-HD track gets a workout from the plethora of parties. Blaring music paired with screaming college kids create ample opportunity for both surround and LFE use. And, both are used judiciously in the party setting. Small stereo touches pop up elsewhere, although they’re minuscule.

Most active is a tailgate scenario. All of the above applies. Throes of people fill a parking lot and Zac Efron “performs” on stage to thumping music. Then comes a chase with some fine panning and directionality. It’s the only notable sequence for Neighbors 2, which the disc presents accurately.

Extras

You’ll find mostly fluff in the bonuses, although the gag reel and line-o-rama have moments. At times, those two seem to be one in the same considering how broken the line-o-rama takes are. A baker’s dozen worth of deleted scenes run longer at 24 minutes.

From there, it’s a series of dry featurettes. Beginning with Nu Neighbors, cast and crew discuss the sequel’s concepts, the longest of the featurettes at eight minutes. The Prodigal Bros Return spends five minutes on the Efron and Dave Franco characters. The women in the cast receive the same treatment in Girls Rule. A short behind-the-scenes breakdown of the tailgate sequence follows. If you’re still interested, director Nicholas Stoller and producer James Weaver deliver a commentary.

Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process. Patreon supporters were able to access these screens early, view them as .pngs, and gain access to exclusives.