Making a good sequel is not easy. Making a good sequel to a comedy seems to be even more difficult. When Nicholas Stoller was tasked with making a follow-up to his box office hit Neighbors, he went looking at other comedy sequels that were successful in an attempt to find inspiration for his own. Eventually he settled on what was quite possibly the most unlikely comedy sequel as his blueprint, Toy Story 2.
While Nicholas Stoller tells Yahoo Movies that he did look at other sequels, like 22 Jump Street, he maintains that, even though the films was also an R-rated comedy, the genres and themes of it were too different to use as a place to start Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. Of course, this makes the movie that was looked to an even stranger choice.
I looked at the Toy Story movies as inspiration. If the first Neighbors is a dumb, gross, R-rated Toy Story, this is like a dumb, gross, R-rated Toy Story 2.
We have to admit that describing Neighbors as a "dumb, gross, R-rated Toy Story" is not a synopsis that we would have thought about previously. Even now, it’s a little difficult to look at the movie that way. Ultimately, what Nicholas Stoller appears to be talking about is that the Toy Story movies, while being comedies, also told stories with heart that were grounded. While the characters were toys, the emotions and relationships made sense and people could relate to them. And though Neighbors was dirty and vulgar, it was also about a couple trying to start a family, and not being sure they were ready for it, and a college student who wasn’t sure what his life would like after graduation.
Nicholas Stoller also says that Toy Story 2 had a plot which flowed organically from the original, without simply being a rehash of the same beats from the first movie over again. Apparently, early versions of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising had the characters of Mac and Kelly trying to party with their neighbors, as they had in the first film. Nicholas Stoller compares this to seeing Buzz and Woody fighting again in Toy Story 2. We didn’t need to see that because we’d already seen it. The relationships and attitudes need to evolve in the sequel. The plot of Neighbors 2 certainly flows organically from the original. Instead of dealing with a fraternity Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are now dealing with a sorority.
While we don’t expect Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising will be quite as appropriate to all audiences the way that Toy Story 2 was, for the right audience it will hopefully be just as much fun as the original.