Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.
Courtney Howard // Film Critic
Just when you thought it couldn’t get better than the comedic shenanigans on display in NEIGHBORS, director Nicholas Stoller returns with NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING. Mac and Kelly Radnor (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) can not catch a break. After they forced the rambunctious frat brothers out of the house next door, they thought they had it made. Nope. A sorority – led by Shelby, Beth and Nora (played respectively by Chloe Grace Moretz, Kiersey Clemons and Beanie Feldstein) and birthed out of rebellion against the patriarchy – is going up right as the Radnors are in escrow. To help rid themselves of the neighbors from Hell, they enlist the help of former foe-turned-friend Teddy (Zac Efron).
At the film’s recent Los Angeles press days, the cast shared a few fun facts about your new favorite comedy sequel.
5. In addition to the gross-out gags, the film tackles socially relevant issues – like feminism. Moretz said that was one of the reasons she signed on. “They tackle a lot of issues us young women are dealing with right now – and in terms of levity. It doesn’t beat us over the head with a movie about it, but they make it fun and exciting. It made it feel more individualized.” Clemons concurred, “It starts a political conversation without shoving anything down anyone’s throats. The whole movie starts an open conversation. We need that right now.”
4. Cell phones weren’t in the first pass at the script. It’s hard to believe that a film about college kids who grew up in the digital age didn’t originally have any cell phones written into it, but here we are. Feldstein said, “When we first got to Atlanta, we were doing rehearsals and doing a pass through of the script, I remember Nic’s eyes lit up and said, ‘There are no phones written into this movie and that’s insane!’ Every college kid is on their phone – it’s how they socialize. It’s how they plan. There ended up being that great scene with Zac at Kappa Nu – with Teddy around phones. It was definitely true to what’s going on now and our movie’s of the times.”
3. There’s another airbag stunt in the sequel…because of course there would be. Guys, the point of a sequel is to double-down on the foundation of the first. In order to do this, they did another, bigger air-bag stunt. Rogen stated, “The airbag thing, people ask that a lot. It’s so funny, it’s literally the simplest camera trick. It’s something they’ve been doing since Buster Keaton times. It’s almost entirely in camera. You sit down or you stand on a thing and then we go, “Freeze!” Everyone freezes. Then you move and we put a dummy there that’s in the same position. We blast it up in the air with an airbag and then it lands. We go, “Freeze” and we look at the position it landed in. Then the actor pretty much goes in that position, flops their body into that position. That’s pretty much it. It’s so low-fi, it’s unbelievable. It literally probably costs a few thousand dollars in visual effects to make those shots be stitched together. They’re incredibly simple to do. It’s literally a camera trick that’s been done for 100 years.”
2.Though it’s written by five guys, the female cast helped shape the co-ed’s dialogue. Rogen explained, “Sometimes there’s just certain things that need to occur in order for the movie to progress. I think with the sorority girls especially, we don’t know how 18-year-old women speak to each other by any means, especially the five dudes who wrote the movie. We had female writers on set and we gave the movie to a lot of female writers throughout the process of the writing of the movie, but still in a moment to moment basis, new ideas come up and we would be crazy to go up to Chloe, Kiersey and Beanie and be like, ‘Here’s how to say this.’ We’d be like, ‘Here’s the idea we like. How would you guys say this to one another?’ It’s what we did with Superbad, it’s what they did on Freaks and Geeks. Even then, I remember the writers were like, ‘We’re not your age so how would you say this at this age.’” Clemons said, “It’s obviously very exciting to collaborate with someone. [Nicholas Stoller] has such a platform. The fact that he took that opportunity for women, who does that?!”
1. The BBQ meat was injected with baby oil. As a distraction tactic to lure the Kappa Nu’s away from their tailgate table, Teddy concocts a no-fail plan to dance sexily in front of the co-eds. However, he left the key ingredient – baby oil – at home and instead is forced to use BBQ meat drippings. Byrne said of the meat, “They had injected the meat with baby oil so it was really disgusting. It was also seasoned with things. Thyme.” Rogen added that it was, “Ham juice and baby oil.” And Efron had difficulty washing it off his skin. “It would not come off. I was trying to get it off forever, but watching Rose’s face made it all worth it. It was really funny.”
NEIGHBORS 2 opens on May 20.