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story.lead_photo.caption Maranda (Clara Mamet), Christine (Awkwafi na), Teddy (Zac Efron), Nora (Beanie Feldstein) and Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) insist they are “in it to win it” in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.

In the better movies Seth Rogen has starred in or written, there's plenty of heart and some traces of brain to go with all the gags that involve genitals. Neighbors 2 is oddly touching because it's about how Mac Radner (Rogen) and wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) uncomfortably realize that they aren't cool anymore. Some of the things they enjoyed in their 20s are now grossly irresponsible.

But forcing the characters to relearn these facts again and again makes them seem less sympathetic and more annoying. How much time do we want to spend with people who would love to have keggers when they're on the verge of buying a second home? Director Nicholas Stoller, Rogen and three other co-writers still manage to find plenty of gross-out gags to fill 90 minutes, but one has to wonder if Child Protective Services might need to straighten Mac and Kelly out.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

81 Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ike Barinholtz, Kiersey Clemons, Dave Franco, Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Beanie Feldstein, Clara Mamet, Awkwafina, Selena Gomez, Kelsey Grammer, Lisa Kudrow, Hannibal Buress

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Rating: R, for crude sexual content including brief graphic nudity, language throughout, drug use and teen partying

Running time: 92 minutes

As the title implies, Mac and Kelly have a new threat next door with a sorority moving in. Kappa Nu has been founded by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), who wants to form a sisterhood of young women who have deeper goals than simply becoming a notch on a frat boy's bedpost. They also want to be able to smoke all the weed they want without a college dorm resident assistant interrupting them.

Because Mac and Kelly smoked a little too much weed themselves, they discover that leaving their old home is going to be a challenge because the house is in escrow for a month, and if the new owners discover the bacchanal happening every night next door the couple will be stuck with two houses and subsequently a ruinous debt.

The girls are too drunk with freedom to lay off the illicit chemicals long enough for Mac and Kelly to leave.

Adding to the tension is the fact that former frat boy Teddy Sanders (Zak Efron) has moved in with the girls and is teaching them how to party in a way that still allows them to pay their steep rent. Because his activities in the previous film have landed him a felony conviction, he has nowhere else to go and an itch for revenge on Mac and Kelly.

What ensues is a war of pranks designed to drive one set of residents out of the neighborhood. Stoller seems eager to top the stomach- churning hilarity he achieved in the previous installment, so a couple of new series of bodily discharges enter the fray.

While providing a safe place to use bongs and to avoid men who simply view coeds as conquests is actually not that bad a goal, having the women of Kappa Nu discover there's more to life than intoxication feels stale the second time around. It's great to see that the formidable Moretz (Kick-Ass, Let Me In) can play comedy as well as she handles drama, but it's a shame to see such a smart actress play such a thoughtless role.

MovieStyle on 05/20/2016

Print Headline: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

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