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Reviews: ‘Neighbors 2’ Moves In A Better Script

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Neighbors 2 MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]eighbors 2 is yet another entry in Seth Rogen’s I’m-turning-into-an-old-stoner series of comedies. The previous Neighbors attempted to find some perspective in the match-up of the party frat boys versus the new parents.

Neighbors 2 MovieSpoon.com

Those abs are totally real.

With the previous picture, I wasn’t all that impressed by director Nicholas Stoller’s method of using slapstick, weed jokes and bodily functions to find the humorous side of growing distant from the college crowd. It also didn’t help that Rogen’s brand of dude-bro humor is starting to age and not as gracefully as he may believe.

So I was already rolling my eyes when Neighbors 2 came to be as it first appeared as a retread. There’s a new group of college kids next door and a new child on the way for our stoner parents. And when the movie began with puking during sex, I was not looking forward to what would follow.

But just as I was about to sling my arrows at Rogen’s comedy, almost out of necessity so that he won’t represent my generation with his antics, something odd took shape on screen. There was character development. There was a message. There was actual intelligence behind the comedy this time around. This couldn’t be the sequel to Neighbors, could it?

I don’t know what Rogen was smoking when he wrote this, but he must have stumbled onto the improved-screenwriting batch of hash. He put down his desire to overuse the exploding airbag gag that he ran into the ground with the first movie. He chose to do something with the pompous frat boy character played by Zac Efron instead of just giving him a pointless cameo. And the female sorority that moves in next door isn’t just a retread of the same college hi-jinks. For once, Rogen’s comedy of weed, poop and puke has a point.

Neighbors 2 MovieSpoon.com

Run, Rogen, run!

What’s most impressive is that there’s more perspective to this battle of generations than just the good-natured parents versus the nasty party kids. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are struggling to sell their house with a second child on the way. At the same time, a pack of college girls led by the rebellious Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) have moved into the house next door, seeking to go rogue from the strict rules of campus sororities.

Mac and Kelly have a month to sell the house. Shelby needs to raise rent by the end of the month. Mac and Kelly need to keep their neighborhood looking pleasing for buyers. Shelby needs to hold fundraising parties to keep her house. And the battle begins for who can keep or sell their house amid a war of pranks and parties.

Caught between sides is the former frat house leader turned retail slave, Teddy (Zac Efron). He finds himself being left behind as he refused to focus on his career or build relationships after college. Despite his still muscular figure, he has grown old and has yet to mature or find his place in the world when the party had died down. This is a character that could have merely been reduced to a cameo role to aid either side in the war of neighbors. But instead of playing such a small part, Teddy actually ends up being the most interesting character with his transition from frat boy to adult – an aspect rarely touched upon in these weed-bro comedies.

I was even amazed at how well Rogen and Byrne have grown into their characters of new parents still fretting over making the right decisions. They make mistakes, stammer for the right words and have great chemistry together. Some of their mistakes actually seem more believable than cartoonish as when they mistakenly end up in escrow because they haven’t thought their housing plan through. And, yes, even their enemy Shelby and her gaggle of bad girls have a sense of purpose. They’re fed up with the old ways of college and desperately want to be taken seriously as real women, willing to do anything to keep their freedom and feminism alive.

Neighbors 2 MovieSpoon.com

Are we actually becoming good parents?

Could this be Seth Rogen’s comedic masterpiece of his career? Well, let’s not go that far. I guess I’m just so relieved to see a comedy involving real characters to care about while still trying to be crude. Imagine that – characters that are not as vile as their jokes. I thought the sky was falling to see such a picture from the pen of Rogen.

Read more to hear about the one serious miscast:

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Box Office

“Ralph” and “Grinch” Steal Slow Box Office Weekend

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Aside from the re-release of Schindler’s List, there is nothing new in the box office for the weekend. Seriously, there’s nothing. And I thought last weekend was slow. With no new films in the running, it’s pretty much a repeat as the box office takes a snow day.

Once again, no surprise, Ralph Breaks The Internet is still on top. In its third weekend, the animated Disney adventure grossed $16 million for the weekend and $140 million for its domestic total. It still has a ways to go to top its $175 million but it should be closing in soon. Also no surprise following closely behind is Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, the computer-animated holiday comedy based on the book by Dr. Seuss. After five weekends, it’s still in the top 5, making another $15 million for the weekend and $223 million domestic total. Worth noting is that, despite this weekend being slow, the movie only took a 15% dip from last weekend. And you can bet it’ll be sticking around for the rest of December.

As for everything else, very few films moved from their spots with one exception. Green Book, the historical racial drama, is picking up steam and has moved up from #10 last weekend to #7 after being added to more than 100 more theaters. Good word of mouth is getting around about this film as its domestic total is now sitting at $19 million for being in less than 2,000 theaters after four weekends.

Check out the full box office results below:
Ralph Breaks The Internet ($16,141,000)
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch ($15,175,000)
Creed II ($10,322,515)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald ($6,805,000)
Bohemian Rhapsody ($6,000,000)
Instant Family ($5,600,000)
The Possession of Hannah Grace ($3,935,000)
Robin Hood ($3,585,000)
Widows ($3,175,000)
Green Book ($3,100,000)

Next weekend, the break is over and genre movies will be in full swing. Mortal Engines, a CGI-heavy fantasy, will debut in 3,000 theaters. The Mule, a new drug-related drama directed and starring Clint Eastwood, will premiere in 2,400 theaters. And Sony’s new animated superhero film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, will be hitting 3,400 theaters. It’s a pretty much a sure bet that Spider-Man will take that weekend, given its PG-rated superhero appeal and the big word-of-mouth it’s getting from critic circles.


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Box Office

“Ralph” Reigns Again on Slow Box Office Weekend

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We’re currently in the eye of the fall movie storm. All is fairly quiet this weekend. The only new release was that of a small horror film, The Possession of Hannah Grace. So small, in fact, that it only came in at #7 for the weekend with a gross of $6.5 million. As such, few films moved very far from their spots. Last weekend’s winner, the animated adventure Ralph Breaks The Internet, was once again on top, even though it wasn’t a very strong second weekend of $25 million, a 54% drop. Still, the film has made $119 million so far and is well on its way to covering its $175 million budget.

Surprisingly jumping up a spot is Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, the latest animated film Illumination Studios based on the classic Christmas book. The film jumped up from #3 to #2, making $17 million with the domestic gross now up to $203 million. Creed II, the sequel to the Rocky spinoff, took a step down for its second weekend, grossing $16 million with a domestic total of $81 million. It’s no surprise that the biggest drop of the weekend was Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the sequel to the Harry Potter spinoff. Due to low critic ratings and poor fan reactions, the film tumbled 61% with its domestic gross sitting at $134 million.

Ivo Nandi stars as Moscow Referee and Florian Munteanu as Viktor Drago in CREED II,
a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures film.
Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures
© 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

View the full top 10 box office winner for the weekend below.

Ralph Breaks The Internet ($25,756,000)
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch ($17,730,000)
Creed II ($16,832,863)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald ($11,200,000)
Bohemian Rhapsody ($8,100,000)
Instant Family ($7,150,000)
The Possession of Hannah Grace ($6,500,000)
Robin Hood ($4,700,000)
Widows ($4,400,000)
Green Book ($3,900,000)

Next weekend is so sparse with new content that the biggest release is going to be an anniversary screening of Schindler’s List, hitting 1,000 screens. It’s a good time to take in some smaller releases as Mary Queen of Scots, Ben is Back, and Vox Lux will be having limited releases. So it’s safe to expect a repeat of this weekend’s trends in the box office.


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Box Office

“Ralph” Breaks The Box Office, “Creed” Close Behind

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Thanksgiving week is a time for family and there were plenty out to the theater last week for an animated family picture. Ralph Breaks The Internet, the Disney-animated sequel to 2012’s video game adventure comedy Wreck-It Ralph, came in at #1 for the weekend with $55 million and $84 million since its debut on Wednesday. This puts it above the Disney studio’s previous Thanksgiving hit Moana, which had a 5-day total of $82 million.

Not too far behind is Creed II, the sequel to the Rocky spin-off starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone. The boxing sequel took in $35 million for the weekend and $55 million since Wednesday. This is a stronger opening than the first film which came in at $29 million for the weekend.

And it was slim leftovers for the two other debuts. Robin Hood, the latest action remake of the classic tale, came in at #7 with only $9 million for the weekend, $14 million since Wednesday. Green Book, a drama about a black singer in the racist south of America, came in at #9 for its expanded week to make $5 million for the weekend and $7 million for its domestic total.

The Crimes of Grindelwald is not fairing to well for its second weekend. The Harry Potter spin-off has dropped to #4 with a domestic weekend gross of $30 million, a 52% drop. The film still hasn’t cleared its $200 million budget with a domestic gross of $117 million and it looks like it may never cross that mark as we head into December with more genre titles. Beating it out for #3 is Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, the theatrically animated adaptation by Illumination, that is proving to have great legs coming into the holiday season. Worth noting at #10 is A Star Is Born, its domestic total now having crossed $191 million to make it one of the most profitable films of the year.

View the full top 10 box office results for the weekend below:

Ralph Breaks The Internet ($55,672,000)
Creed II ($35,293,000)
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch ($30,210,000)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald ($29,650,000)
Bohemian Rhapsody ($13,855,000)
Instant Family ($12,500,000)
Robin Hood ($9,125,000)
Widows ($7,955,000)
Green Book ($5,443,000)
A Star is Born ($3,005,000)

Next weekend is, well, it’s pretty dead. So dead that a ghost movie is occupying the rather blank spot. Possession of Hannah Grace, a modest horror production, will be arriving in under 2,000 theaters. So it’s fair to say you can expect Ralph to breakthrough for another weekend of success.


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