“Neighbors 2” Is Feminist And Timely, In Its Own Gloriously Dumb Way

“You have to fight for your right to party,” the Beastie Boys once advocated. Decades later, a cinematic sorority
is co-opting the message by battling for the same party-rights as bros.

In the first trailer for Neighbors 2, a sequel to the raucous 2014 smash, stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne once again share their suburban neighborhood with a Greek system satellite. This time, it’s a sorority, the logical next step for a fraternity-related flick successful enough to be expanded into a series. What’s interesting is that the reason Rogen and Byrne find themselves living next to an unlikely sorority house is because a group of pledges headed up by Chloë Grace Moretz are rebelling against draconian bylaws that state only fraternities can have house parties with the requisite drinking and drugs. Can’t the sisters get lit in their own space?

According to a New York Times article coincidentally published the same day as the trailer, some sororities are starting to establish their own man-free party zones as an anti-rape measure. It’s a deplorable time when college women have to resort to shutting men out in order to ensure some kind of safe space. What’s probably more accurate, though, is that the problem of predatory college men has been as intense as it is now for a long time, and people are talking about it more now.

While Neighbors 2 won’t likely stop its repurposed airbag-involved antics long enough to make a poignant statement about women’s privilege to party in peace without fear of abuse, the film’s participation in this conversation is a step in the right direction. Given how many other ways were available to get hard-partying sorority-sisters onscreen, the route the filmmakers chose to take is surprisingly respectful.