'Neighbors 2' Avoids An Unnecessary Trope

by Amy Mackelden

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is finally released on May 20, and a lot of changes have taken place since the events of the first movie. Zac Efron's party-hard fraternity has disbanded, leaving the house next door to Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne empty and ready for new tenants. Enter Chloë Grace Moretz and friends, who plan on starting a sorority like no other, one which can throw parties, and Zac Efron is on hand to offer his advice. Efron and Moretz are both incredibly attractive, have great chemistry, and the sequel could've easily gone down the romantic comedy route. But their characters don't hook up. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is not a rom-com, and that's actually really refreshing.

In the Los Angeles Times, the movie's director Nick Stoller said,"At one point we were like, 'We have Zac Efron and Chloë Grace Moretz — we have to have them have sex.' But the scene just didn't work in the movie. It was like the DNA of the movie rejected it." The two actors would be perfectly believable as a couple, but it's a smart move having them not hook up, and helps set the tone of what the movie hopes to achieve. Neighbors 2 is about women taking control of their lives, and starting a sorority is more important to them than dating (even though Zac Efron is ridiculously hot).

Instead of focusing on any potential romantic comedy elements, the movie often revolves around the female leads. Having attended a borderline-terrifying frat party, Moretz and the gang decide that there needs to be a better alternative — parties which are safe for women, at which drinks don't get spiked, and people can dress how they want to. The sequel definitely takes the franchise in a much more feminist direction than the first movie, but there's still a long way to go. For instance, having Efron mentor the women on how to start a successful sorority is often patronizing. After all, why do a group of young, strong, ambitious women need the help of a man to achieve their dreams?

Most comedies like Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising wouldn't miss the opportunity of implementing a romance, particularly between two in-demand actors like Efron and Moretz. It's a bold move to balk this expectation, and to ignore the possibility of a romantic plot altogether, in favor of a more feminist angle. It's definitely a step in the right direction, and the message of the movie is made even stronger for it.

Image: Universal Pictures/YouTube