Blu-ray Review Comedy

'Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising' Blu-ray Review: Bad neighbors, good sequel

September 20, 2016Ben MK

Picking up a couple of years after suburban couple Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) defeated their neighbors from Hell, the raucous Delta Psi Beta fraternity led by best bros Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and Pete Regazolli (Dave Franco), Neighbors 2 finds Mac and Kelly contending with a new next-door nightmare. This time, it's Kappa Nu, a party-centric sorority formed by college freshman Shelby (Chloƫ Grace Moretz) specifically to counteract the sexist notions and attitudes that permeate the existing sorority/fraternity system.

To make matters worse, Mac and Kelly have just bought a new home in anticipation of a new addition to their family, and the buyers of their current house have put a 30-day escrow on the property, meaning that they can back out of the deal anytime within the month. To make matters even more worse, Shelby and her friends and co-founders Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) have recruited former party-animal Teddy to mentor them, and to help them make Kappa Nu the hardest-partying, most weed-smoking-est house on the block.

There's more that can be said about the storyline, but part of the film's fun is discovering where director Nicholas Stoller and his co-writers, Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O'Brien, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, have taken these characters since the first movie. Suffice to say, the result is pleasantly progressive. In other words, Neighbors 2 doesn't revert its returning characters to their old ways simply for the sake of comedy. And even the new characters are given motivations that feel genuine, as opposed to being used merely as cogs in the machinations of the script.

Make no mistake, Neighbors 2 still bears all the hallmarks of a Seth Rogen comedy, meaning that audiences won't be left wanting for crude, sometimes random, jokes about sex, weed and Judaism. Still, it's all handled in the most lovable way possible, believe it or not, which only adds to the film's charm. Coupled with strong performances across the board from every actor in the cast — especially Efron — and what we have is the kind of sequel that all sequels should aspire to, one that takes the concept of the original and improves on it in every way imaginable.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising debuts on Blu-ray with a technical presentation that's just as good, if not better, than the first film. Simply put, this 1080p transfer is crisp and clear, with excellent contrast and color saturation, resulting in ample fine detail in faces, clothing and environments, as well as some nice and robust hues, from Teddy's tight, orange shorts to Kappa Nu's neon blue and purple party lights. As for the film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix, it, like most comedies, is a primarily dialogue-driven affair, but with plenty of room for boisterous party music, not to mention the sound of an air bag or two going off.

Universal's two-disc combo pack includes an iTunes/UltraViolet copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted Scenes (24:14) - Twelve scenes ("Never Drink the Punch," "Projecting the Future," "I'm Not Gonna Cry," "We're Not Bros Anymore," "Future Pranks," "Airbag Redux," "You Are So Vascular," "Do the Handshake," "It's Not Safe," "Shelby Fights the Radners," "A Normal, Friendly Conversation" and "Holes Before Poles").
  • Gag Reel (4:24) - Flubs and silliness from the set.
  • Line-O-Rama (4:48) - The cast improvise and mess up their lines.
  • Nu Neighbors (8:09) - The cast and crew talk about making the movie, with a behind-the-scenes look at a few of the on-screen pranks.
  • The Prodigal Bros Return (5:01) - Zack Efron, Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jerrod Carmichael talk about reuniting for the sequel, and what their characters are up to now.
  • Girls Rule (6:14) - A look at Chloe Moretz, Kiersey Clemons and Beanie Feldstein's characters, with a glimpse of the rest of the Kappa Nu roster.
  • The Ultimate Tailgate (5:09) - A look at the making of the film's chaotic tailgate sequence.
  • Feature Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Nicholas Stoller and Producer James Weaver - Stoller and Weaver tell anecdotes about the film's production, as well as talk about the cast's performances, the editing, the production design, the re-shoots, the script and more.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment as of September 20th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French and Spanish DTS 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 32 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on May 20th, 2016.

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