Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
The first half of this Seth Rogen sequel is as funny and snappy as the first movie, but the movie loses its way a bit by the time credits roll. Still, if you are looking at laughs per dollar, Rogen and Zac Efron deliver your money’s worth. The spin this time out has a sorority led by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) moving in next door to the Radners (Rogen and Rose Byrne). Shelby is determined to party like a frat does, and this leads to a semi-depressed Teddy (Efron) coming on as a mentor. This restarts Teddy’s war with the Radners, which is bad timing because their house is in escrow. It’s during this stage when the film is at its nastiest best. When a booted Teddy joins forces with the Radners to destroy the sorority, things get a little misguided. The film has some of the funniest dialogue of 2016 (“Sometimes you have to suck a bunch of dicks to find out you don’t like sucking dicks”), and I’m always down for Rogen. Byrne is an undervalued comic actress, and Moretz fits right into the stoner mode. Efron gets the biggest laughs in the movie, even when it starts to get a little too busy. A garage gag involving those ever-pesky airbags is killer funny, as is another visit with the dean (Lisa Kudrow). As sequels go, this isn’t a great one, but it’s a worthy installment.
2 Money MonsterDirector Jodie Foster goes for a 1970s throwback vibe while approaching a modern financial subject in this valiant but messy effort starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Clooney plays Lee Gates, host of Money Monster, a sensationalist financial program that features Gates dancing around the studio and making stock tips. Not all of Gates’ tips are winners, and he’s about to find out about the downside of bad advice. Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) shows up on set as a delivery boy, but he doesn’t have pizzas. He’s got an explosive vest for Gates to put on, and a gun that says “Don’t turn off the cameras, we are going to be here for a while!” Producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) has to keep the show rolling as her host is held hostage. Kyle lost a lot of dough on a Gates tip, and he’s here to tell us all how we are being suckered by “the Man.” What unfolds is woefully predictable, with Clooney and Roberts laboring to make it all entertaining despite its flatness and many clichés. Obviously, the cold-hearted Gates will see not only the evil in companies he talks about on the air, but his own clumsiness. His heart will swell for his put-upon captor, and he will join him in solidarity against the evil corporate dictator Walt Camby (Dominic West), who stole Kyle’s money due to a “computer glitch.” O’Connell overacts, and the movie feels dated and worthless, on top of being self-important.