By Jack Dignan
Tim Burton's 2010 live action adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, admittedly, has a lot going for it. Personally, I don't think it's all that great of a movie, but it has credibility. The cast is phenomenal, the director can sell movies and the visual effects were breathtaking. It was both an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's two books, as well as an adaptation of the Disney classic, and to make things even weirder, it was also a sequel. It's a strange, strange movie, and while I don't think it worked, others do, and it raked in over a billion dollars. So, six years later, we have a sequel. Yay? I don't know.
Alice Through The Looking Glass continues the story of Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska), who has just returned home after spending three years sailing around the world. But, before she knows it, she winds up back in Wonderland (or Underland? It's all very confusing), where she discovers that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), who she considers to be her "truest friend" is very ill, dying because of the memories he has of his deceased family. She asks Alice to bring them back to him, and the only way she can do that is to approach Time (Sasha Baron Cohen), although, Time just so happens to be in correlation with the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).
The first Alice in Wonderland adapted both of Carroll's classic novels, leaving Alice Through The Looking Glass with the struggle of adapting from material with nothing left to adapt. The struggle, it seems, was a battle the film's writer, Linda Woolverton, couldn't win. The plot is overstretched and confusing, Alice travelling through time for a majority of the film in a poor attempt to tell these character's uninteresting and rather stupid origins. Scenes are repeated, storylines are dropped and the dialogue is horrendous.
I always gave Woolverton credit for writing The Lion King, despite all of her other films being terrible, but today I discovered it was rewritten by 2 other writers, based on a story that was conceived by 24 different people, so yeah, all credibility Woolverton previously had is now completely lost. Whatever it is that made The Lion King so brilliant, I'm starting to think it has very little to do with whatever it is she wrote for it. Between this, Maleficent and the first Alice in Wonderland, I'm really not sure if I'm prepared for another Linda Woolverton movie in my life.
Like previously mentioned, the first film was a visual treat, even if the story wasn't all that special. It was a whimsical environment taken right out of the imagination of a child, and it looks fantastic. Alice Through The Looking Glass has great visual ideas, I'll give it that. You can really tell they tried hard to make it something unique and special, but the final result is laughably bad. The effects are absolute garbage, and it was right from the opening shot that I knew this would be the case. The film opens with an entirely digital ship sailing through the sea, and oh, how it was bad. Very, very bad.
On top of that, the film, much like its predecessor, has an immensely talented cast, yet they're all put to waste. Mia Wasikowska, obviously, leads us on this adventure, and as her character is time travelling for a lot of the movie, nobody else is really given much screen time, including the top billed actor, Johnny Depp. The characters are needlessly thrown into a few of the scenarios, but for nothing more than a brief and unnecessary appearance, although the saddest waste of talent is of Alan Rickman, who devastatingly passed away earlier in the year. I was really looking forward to hearing his voice on screen for one final time, yet he has, and I'm not joking here, literally three lines in the entire film, two of which were in the trailer. It was vastly disappointing.
There's plenty to complain about with this film, but it's not completely awful. There is an attempt made at making it a fresh and visually stunning film, but it does fall flat, and while the cast are wasted, there is one standout, and no, it's neither Depp nor Wasikowska. It is, believe it or not, Sacha Baron Cohen's Time. He doesn't get an awful lot of laughs, but hey, he did make me chuckle once or twice, which is more than any other character managed to do. He's the only one here who looks like they're genuinely enjoying themselves, as the opposite can be said for nearly everyone else, especially Anne Hathaway who just looks sad the whole time.
To sum up, Alice Through The Looking Glass was never going to be good, but it really shouldn't have been this bad, either. The writing is terrible and the effects are even worse, and it doesn't help when none of the actors seemingly don't want to be there, resulting in stale and underused performances.
1 1/2 Stars
By Jack Dignan
Shane Black, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling have teamed up to deliver what could possibly be the greatest film of 2016. When I see a trailer as good as the one for The Nice Guys, I think to myself 'there's no possible way this film can be better than the trailer. It's impossible.' I mean, I was still painfully excited to see and it was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, but I've had experience with similar styled trailers and more often than not, they end in disappointment. With The Nice Guys, I was hyped out of my mind, and when I got to watch the film yesterday, all expectations were well and truly exceeded. Good luck, 2016. Good luck topping this masterpiece.
The Nice Guys follows the story of Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling). Healy, essentially, is hired to beat people up for a living, while March is a b-grade private investigator and single father to his hilariously mature daughter, Holly (Angourice Rice). March is hired to track down a dead porn star after somebody believes to have seen her alive. It's while investigating the porn star that he's forced to team up with Healy to track down and protect a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley), who has connections to the porn star's death.
It's a chaotic and unpredictable ride from start to finish, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. Gosling and Crowe prove to be a match made in heaven, their comedic timing perfect and their chemistry unbelievable, as well as delivering two utterly brilliant performances. The two characters, while still being rather different, have strange parallels to each other, making it a unique and thrilling buddy cop movie that's not really a buddy cop movie. The two bounce off of each other constantly, their banter hilarious to watch unfold. Neither of them really want to work with each other, but they don't have a say in it, and it turns out to be worth their while.
If I'm being perfectly honest, I don't think I've ever laughed this hard in a movie before. Seriously, this film is fucking hilarious. If, like me, you only saw the first two trailers (the third one, as I discovered after watching the movie, spoils a lot more of the gags), then you haven't seen anything yet. All the film's best moments are well and truly protected, and they come from the most unexpected places. Every time you think a joke is going somewhere, Shane Black steers you in a different direction, presenting a much funnier, less predictable gag that had me literally in tears. This movie made me cry simply because of how funny it was.
What makes this film so great isn't just how funny it is, but is instead thanks to the performances, writing and direction. The screenplay by Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi is all sorts of brilliant. The personalities of these characters are all unique, and the plot is completely original. There were moments, just like the gags, where I thought I knew where this film was going, but the rug was pulled right out from underneath me and I was left in shock, watching as the real plot unfolded and revealed itself. It's an energetic and consistently entertaining film that failed to deliver a dull moment and never lost steam. As a matter of fact, my favourite scene in this film happens during the finale, so there's that.
There's so many times during this movie where it could've taken the easy route. It could've cheated every so often and fall into clichéd territory to help our two heroes get out of trouble, but it never did. If a problem arose, the two leads would always push through, and that's another thing I loved about this movie. It always followed through the aspects of the plot it was setting up. Everything helped to create a satisfying and hilarious payoff, and the journey there is just as entertaining, if not more.
To sum up, The Nice Guys is a chaotic and energetic romp, making it the most entertaining movie so far in 2016, and easily my favourite. The screenplay is original, the jokes had me in literal tears and the performances are off the charts. There's no need to watch any more movies this year. The Nice Guys wins.
By Chris Campo
I have always been a big fan of Key & Peele. It's easily one of the funniest shows of the past decade and the two stars, Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele, are, without a doubt, two of the funniest men working today. I was both excited for and nervous about their first feature film, Keanu. The trailer had a few laughs, but nothing stood out as gut busting. It didn't make this film a must see. Luckily, and to my surprise, the team behind Key & Peele have crafted one damn funny film.
Keanu follows two cousins, Rell (Jordan Peele), and Clarence (Keegan Michael Key). One day, a mysterious kitten ends up at Rell's door and peps him up after a heart breaking break up. One weekend later, the cat, named Keanu, is stolen. To get Keanu back, Clarence and Rell fall down a crime rabbit hole as they infiltrate a local gang. Yes, this is obviously a light spoof of the Keanu Reeves film John Wick, but much suprise to me, the story easily stands on its own.
This film is funny. No, this is absolutely hysterical. There are some gags that flop, but I was consistently laughing from start to finish. The film's humor ranges from clever dialogue to outrageous gags to hilarious film references. Lots and lots of film references. It's an action film fan's dream. There are great cameos throughout, but there's one from an actress who's sort of irrelevant today, they play on that breifly, and the scene went on way too long. Keanu, however, does have the single funniest drug trip sequence ever, set to the soothing sounds of George Michael.
I think it's obvious that Key and Peele have terrific chemistry on screen. They absolutely kill it here. They're the beating heart of this film and they absolutely nail it, watching them is so, so fun. Most of the supporting cast are good, too. Method Man plays the leader of the gang they infiltrate and he was definitely a highlight, and his goons that Key and Peele befriend are a great cast of outrageous characters. Some characters are over the top, like Will Forte's character, but nothing seems too out of place given the tone of this film.
The kitten is not just a crutch for jokes, or some kind of Mcguffin, but is instead the centrepiece of the movie. The writers do a good job at setting up this story and you genuinely get connected to it. There's heart in this film, you feel the connection to the cat and you want the cousins to succeed. There's hero moments, some funny, some genuinely crowd pleasing. The only problem with the script is the fact that the writers don't bother explaining a lot of things. Many moments early on in the film don't make sense towards the end and vice versa.
This is not necessarily an action packed film, but there is a handful of action set pieces. Some work, some dont. The opening scene is insane and bloody and sets the tone for the film perfectly, whereas the third set piece seems tacked on and goes on for a few minutes too long. Plus, some characters suddenly do things that the film hasn't established, which isn't a big deal given that this film doesn't take itself very seriously, but it did bother me a bit.
Keanu is a nugget of comedy gold that made me laugh hard at a consistent rate. Sure, the third act may have some unnecessary action and not everything makes sense, but Key and Peele have a bright cinematic life ahead of them. And holy shit, that cat is the cutest thing I have ever seen.
3 1/2 Stars
By Jack Dignan
How does one top X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which, in my opinion, is the greatest X-Men movie yet? It seems like a tough question, and as much as I would love to say the only way to top it is to bring in Oscar Isaac as the villain, but that simply is not true. As a matter of fact, it can't be topped. Well, not by this movie, anyway. X-Men: Apocalypse is the highly anticipated comic book sequel, and the seventh film in this franchise (eighth if you count Deadpool). The franchise has many high points and low points, and while the last film was their highest point, Apocalypse fits in somewhere in the middle. A disappointment? Most definitely.
Set in 1983, ten years after Days of Future Past, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is happily running his school, teaching young mutants about their powers and hoping to one day have all mutants be accepted in society. Soon, an ancient being known as Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) awakens from centuries of slumber, and after exploring the world, he decides to cleanse it, eliminating the weak and letting the strongest mutant prevail. To do this, he gains the help of four mutants, including Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and attempts to destroy the world. It's up to Xavier and his school of mutants to take down Apocalypse, reforming the X-Men and facing a threat with greater power than they could ever know.
After a shockingly gruesome introduction to the character of Apocalypse, the latest installment in the X-Men saga takes its time to reintroduce all these characters, as well as giving us our first look at the new cast, including younger versions of characters we've seen in previous films. It's this initial set up that has some of my favourite moments in the film, and if I'm being perfectly honest, the first act is by far the film's greatest act. It's dramatic, emotional and full of fun nods to the fans, but also serves as an entertaining, dark and engaging build up for what you'd expect to be the best X-Men movie yet, right? Wrong.
The second act is where this film lost me, and while it does have a lot of great and memorable moments, it's a slow moving drag. The stakes are set up, but never really felt, and a lot of the actions taken by several characters just feel rather stupid. To be fair, it's not all bad. There's a scene with a certain character shown in the last trailer that's short but sweet, and Quicksilver's introduction is a lot of fun, but after an initial confrontation between the X-Men and Apocalypse (one of the best scenes in the film), everything goes downhill for a while.
While certain characters are given a lot of development and incredibly interesting sub-plots, a lot aren't. Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) are easily my two favourite characters. They're developed, interesting and their relationship plays out well on screen, a lot of their scenes clear standouts amongst some not-so-fantastic moments. Magneto's introduction is powerful and pulls on the heartstrings, but once he becomes one of the four horsemen, his character isn't given a lot to do until the end of the finale.
Speaking of the four horseman (Apocalypse's followers), none of them are overly developed outside of Magneto. Psylocke (Olivia Munn) looks extremely cool in action, but the film didn't tell me anything about her character that the trailers didn't. She's a superhero with... a power stick? While the comics explain who she is, the film doesn't translate any of that. Storm (Alexandra Shipp) doesn't do much either, and Angel (Ben Hardy), like all of the underdeveloped characters, looks cool, but does very little.
Apocalypse, in the comics, is a badass villain, but on film... not so much. His character is loud and destructive, but his motives are unclear. The filmmakers attempt to give him a backstory and explain why he's doing the things he's doing, but nothing is clear. It's all a bit of a haze, despite Isaac's terrific performance and his intimidating and haunting appearance. The destruction, however, is rarely caused by him, but instead it is something someone else does while Apocalypse sits back and gives an evil speech. He's clichéd and uninteresting, and it doesn't really help when a good chunk of the dialogue in this film is laughable.
Despite my many complaints, there's still a lot of fun to be had here. It may seem like I'm ranting, which I technically am, but I did like this film. It's extremely problematic and poorly written, but at times, it's also a lot of fun, especially the action sequences. The final fight is a great display of all of these character's powers, and watching all of them work together was just insanely awesome, despite some terrible CGI. The fact of the matter is that filmmakers attempted to do a few too many things with this movie, and while it's not perfect, it's a good time at the movies. I am extremely excited to see where these characters head next, especially the younger cast as they stole the show.
To sum up, X-Men Apocalypse is a lot of fun, full of action and great character moments, but it's bogged down by a poor screenplay with a lot of uninteresting and underdeveloped characters, as well as a clichéd villain whose motives are unclear. It had potential to be great, but settled for just being fine.
By Chris Campo
X-Men is one hell of a franchise. It's arguably the start of this superhero obsessed age of film we live in, a film saga spanning over fifteen years, and with a handful of great films. The prequel, X-Men First Class is one of those great films. Serving as both a prequel and a soft reboot of the franchise, First Class had a lot riding on it before its release in 2011. It was following the two worst X-Men movies, The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine. It was meant to not only get the franchise back on track, but also point it in a new direction, and it did so in strides. This film also launched the new X-men trilogy we got, and that's a good thing as Days of Future Past was incredible and Apocalypse looks promising.
X-Men First Class follows both Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), before they were known as Magneto and Professor X. When evil mutant Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) shows plans to start a nuclear war, Xavier and Charles unite to form a team of young mutants to work closely with the government and take down Shaw, forming the X-Men in the process. Not only is this an origin story, but it's a plot very different for the franchise. The story is dark, all while still painting a sense of fun. It's exciting, action packed and it's one of my favorite X-Men films.
This film is very well cast, with one exception. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are simply incredible. They hit the dark moments and the comedy with such ease, plus they nail the characters previously set up for them by Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart Their characters are vulnerable and dynamic, easily the most interesting aspects of the film. The other X-Men are very well cast, for the most part. Honestly, I'm not a fan of Jennifer Lawrence in these films. Something about her presence takes me out of the film, and when under all the makeup she needs to play Mystique, she just comes off as goofy. She's a great actress in her own right, but she never belonged in an X-Men film. Kevin Bacon, however, is highly underrated in this role. He plays an awesome and terrifying villain and I'm sad this is the only X-Men film to feature his character.
I'm also a big fan of how this film plays out as almost a young adult film (better than almost any YA film). The recruitment and training of all the X-Men is both fun and exciting. It truly feels like this group is forming before your eyes, and these kids are growing as characters. The recruitment of the X-Men is a stand out scene, featuring one of the best moments in the franchise, Wolverine's cameo. The training montage is a highlight as well, I'm usually not a fan of the training montage, but it's just so much damn fun here. Following the majority of the X-Men as kids was ballsy, but it makes the characters much more realistic and easier to relate to. Director Matthew Vaughn took this formula and applied it to 2014's Kingsman The Secret Service and it worked just as well as it did here.
Speaking of Matthew Vaghn, he is easlily the star of this film. He makes you aware of his style throughout, but he never makes it too flashy. His style fits like a glove here. Astheticlally, this film is beautiful, especially everything with the X-Men's powers. Also the costumes! The costumes! They're colorful and bright and so much better than the costumes in the other films. I seriously wish they would have looked like they do in this film throughout the series, I would have loved to see Wolverine in this style of costume. Nearly every decision by Vaughn works and I go to bed at night wishing he would return to the franchise. Okay, not literally, but I really do want him to direct another X-Men movie.
The thing is, I would have liked more action. There's not that much. There are some cool scenes here and there, but I just expected more, especially considering the director and the franchise. I just watched this film a few days ago and I can only recall handful of memorable action set pieces. The fight where Shaw and his crew attacks the young X-Men is amazing. It's exciting and really shows off those cool powers and visuals I mentioned earlier. The final action scene is decent. It's nothing too breathtaking, however, which is rather unfortunate seeings as how this is a superhero movie, and an X-Men one at that.
Overall, First Class is a great X-Men movie. The casting, for the most part, is spot on, including incredible performances from Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. The film may not have too many mind-blowing action scenes, but nearly every other creative decision made is spot on. I long for Matthew Vaughn to return to the franchise, because I believe he has the power to top this. Also, that Wolverine cameo... Nuff said.
By Jack Dignan
Over two months after its release in the US, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot finally hits Australian theatres this Thursday, and it's about time we got this unique and funny look at war. While most war films focus in on the actual action, usually taking us on either an honest or patriotic look at the struggles and the fight, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is restraint in what actual war footage it shows, focussing in on the impact of war in the world around us, especially the impact journalism can have on it, and it's this unique perspective that makes this film surprisingly decent.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is the true story of Kim Baker (Tina Fey), a journalist sent to Afghanistan to provide coverage on the war going on there. With the help of reporters Ian MacKelpie (Martin Freeman) and Tanya Vanderpool (Margot Robbie), we follow Kim's efforts to constantly go for the bigger story as she remains in this country for three years. The longer she stays, the more dangerous the scenarios get, and despite her struggles and the inferior power given to women there, Kim never gives up, despite occasionally putting the entire cast of this movie at a safety risk, and it's this aspect of the plot that makes Whiskey Tango Foxtrot as entertaining as it is.
It's not flawless, and I'll get into the flaws in a moment, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the title a reference to the abbreviation WTF (which ends up being a rather relevant theme in this film), is an important look at the power of journalism, particularly that of war journalism. It doesn't always get straight to its point, but by the time the film comes to end, the film's important message is well and truly across, and the film depicts this message in a shockingly honest way.
Now, before I start pointing out the negatives, I must say that I loved the entire cast in this movie. Tina Fey gives a powerhouse performance, even if the film incorporates a bit too much of her typical sense of humour. Her chemistry with Martin Freeman and Margot Robbie bounces from the screen, and while I do have some spoiler-filled problems with how their character's relationships ended up, a great majority of their scenes together were great.
Without a doubt, the two biggest issues with this film is the pacing and plotting. The plot is practically non-existent. There's very little conflict or tension, and it's the scenes that do incorporate this that are the best moments in the whole film. The film is just a series of news reports, and while this could've made for an exciting and gripping film, the plot and tone are all over the place, resulting in a lot of wasted potential.
The film could've used a little more steam in the first twenty or so minutes, but once it gets its footing right, it manages to pick things up fast. The film's opening is a sloppy, poorly pieced together mess that is never sure if it's trying to be funny or serious, and the final result is far from pleasant. There's an overabundance of sexual humour that just isn't needed, and while it does improve later on in the movie, it's still there, and I can't help but think of how much better this film would've been without it.
To sum up, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an important and fascinating true story with some rather excellent performances, but the film severely lacks focus in both its tone and plot, mixing in too much of Tina Fey's typical humour. But while the humour feels mostly out of place, the war aspects make this just interesting enough to work.
By Jack Dignan
Warcraft, Assassin's Creed and The Angry Birds Movie. These are the three noteworthy video game movies being released in 2016, and for many, many years now, video game movies have been known to be terrible. They have the opposite of a good reputation, and because of that, I was hesitant about all of these, with the exception of Assassin's Creed. So, I sat down yesterday with unknown expectations, my mind open and willing to see how the movie turned out, and believe it or not, but I had an absolute blast with this film. 2016 could be the start of good video game movies, and I really hope this trend continues.
Based on the best selling app, The Angry Birds Movie follows the story of Red (Jason Sudeikis), an angry and friendless bird who, after a mishap at his job, is sent to anger management class, led by a bird named Matilda (Maya Rudolph). Also in his class is Chuck (Josh Gad), a super fast bird, Bomb (Danny McBride), a bird who blows up when they're angry, and Terence (Sean Penn), a massive bird who does nothing but grunt. Soon, a boat full of pigs arrives on their island, led by Leonard (Bill Hader), and these pigs have the whole town swooning, the town letting them do just about anything they want. Red, however, sees past what they're doing, teaming up with Chuck and Bomb to stop their evil plans since nobody else realises what's going on.
Because of the simplicity of the game, The Angry Birds Movie has a lot of freedom in terms of storytelling. The game, for those unaware, has you using a slingshot to throw flight-less birds into a pig-built area to destroy the pigs and take back the eggs they've stolen. It's a simple game, each of the birds having different abilities, and translating it onto screen allows for a lot of flexibility. They're not restraint in the way they can tell their story, so long as they follow the basic fundamentals of the game, and that they do. The story is fast, frothing with energy and a lot of fun to watch.
The characters are so distinctly different, their abilities crystal clear, and this allows for the film to go in all different directions, bringing with it a lot of fresh and original humour. While the initial two trailers advertised this film as having a lot of kid-friendly seen-it-before humour, the film itself is far from it. Most of the great kids movies have thematic elements or moments of humour that will appeal to older audiences as well, and to my surprise, there's plenty of jokes in this film that had me in hysterics. These characters just bounce around with each, and their individual dynamics make for constant entertainment.
Adding dimension to these characters are the actors that play them, and with a cast like this, it always had me curious about the movie. I didn't mind the first trailer, but the second trailer wasn't all that good. The thing that maintained my interest in the film, besides the fact that I was addicted to this game when it first came out, was how talented the voice cast was. From Bill Hader to Josh Gad to Danny McBride, everyone here does a fantastic job, and I'd just like to take a moment to appreciate that they cast Sean Penn in a role that requires him to do nothing but grunt for the entire movie. It's glorious.
The Angry Birds Movie is a big leap forward for video game movies, and the animation and soundtrack were as great as ever. It's not thematically deep like a Disney or Pixar movie and not every single joke works, but the stuff that works worked really well, and it does end up being a family friendly movie that's certainly worth taking the family to. There's so much about this film that surprised me, and it still had me laughing just thinking about it hours after watching it. 2016 is the start of a new era for video game movies. Soon, video game movies won't be seen as a joke. They'll be seen as quality cinema.
To sum up, The Angry Birds Movie uses the simpleness of the game it's based on to deliver a fun, fresh and hilarious animated movie that delivers way more than the trailers promoted. It's the start of the video game movie era, and with so many being planned, my faith in them is starting to grow.
3 1/2 Stars
By Jack Dignan
You've seen Bad Neighbours (or, simply, Neighbors as it's titled in most countries), now get ready for..... Bad Neighbours.... again.... Except with girls.... Yeah, there's nothing new here. Continuing the trait of most comedy sequels, Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising is a direct rip off of the first film, but while some sequels manage to make that work, incorporating fresh and original humour and bringing us back to hang with our favourite characters some more, Bad Neighbours 2 doesn't quite achieve that. In fact, it's very far off from achieving it.
Picking up a few years after the last movie, Mac (Seth Rogen), Kelly (Rose Byrne) and their infant daughter have just sold their house, but what they didn't realise was that the buyers have a 30 day inspection trial period to make sure they like it. They have 30 days to make sure nothing goes wrong, but soon a sorority house moves in next door, led by the party loving Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz). Once again, it's neighbour vs. neighbour, but things become too much for Mac and Kelly, and so they enlist the help of former neighbour, Teddy (Zac Efron), who agrees to help them take down the sorority.
One of the most surprising aspects of the first Bad Neighbours movie was how well directed it was. Nicholas Stoller, who also directed Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshal, returns to the director's chair, bringing to this film a tonne of energy, even though his direction and comedic timing can't really save this film from feeling familiar. He knows how to make a well made comedy, both Bad Neighbours films have proven that, but this time around, the material he's given isn't quite up to speed.
This film, without a doubt, has an excellent cast. Seth Rogen is a man I love to pieces, and I will watch anything with Rose Byrne in it. Zac Efron I feel as though has a lot of potential, and when he's in good films, such as the first Bad Neighbours, he's great. The problem is, he's in too many bad movies, and Bad Neighbours 2 isn't going to be added to the list of his good films. As for Chloë Grace Moretz, she can go from starring in a masterpiece to a piece of shit real fast, and while I'll give this credit for being better than The Fifth Wave, she once again stars in a movie that wastes her acting potential.
I will give this film credit for at least trying to be different, changing the frat house to a sorority house and dealing with the topic of sexism, but that doesn't change the fact that it's just not that funny. I will admit, there are moments that had me laughing out loud. This film, on multiple occasions, can be rather hilarious, but for every hilarious moment, there's both a terrible moment and an awkward moment. Some of the humour just doesn't work in the slightest, making this film drag on and on and on. I checked my watch in this movie. I should not be checking my watch in a comedy. I should be busy laughing.
To sum up, Bad Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising has moments of comedy gold, mixed in between the cast's likability and director's energetic approach, but it can't save this film from being remarkably average, rehashing the entire plot of the first film but with weaker jokes.
2 1/2 Stars