REVIEW: Bad Neighbours 2 (15) ***

PA Photo/Universal.
PA Photo/Universal.
(Back to camera) Garrett Hedlund as Jamie McAllan. (Front of cart) Mary J. Blige as Florence Jackson (also inset)  and Rob Morgan as Hap Jackson.

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Terrible neighbours become good friends in Nicholas Stoller’s likeable sequel to his 2014 comedy, which pitted an exhausted couple with a newborn baby against scheming members of a party-loving fraternity.

The gender tables are turned and then flooded with sticky sentiment in Bad Neighbours 2, which plays out a foul-mouthed battle of the sexes and pleads with us to care about the characters on both sides of the conflict.

Gags from the original film are recycled and the five scriptwriters, including lead actor Seth Rogen, lovingly embrace every demographic.

Zac Efron acknowledges his gay fanbase and panders to them by spending extended sequences of the film dressed in nothing except a pair of tight-fitting shorts.

Timely messages about the perils of modern parenting, gender equality and the political incorrectness of fraternities who put bros before hoes are merrily flung into the mix.

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) buy a new home where they can safely raise their two-year-old daughter.

The couple agree a sale on their current house and are placed in escrow by the estate agent, allowing the new buyers a 30-day period to survey the property before signing a legally binding contract.

In the interim, a newsorority led by wild child Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) moves into the house next door and prepares to party.

Mac and Kelly are horrified – the buyers could pull out of the house sale when they discover the new neighbours are unruly teenage girls.

So the Radners resolve to drive out the sorority, aided by Mike’s pal Jimmy and his pregnant wife.

However, the girls of Kappa Nu have a secret weapon – Mac and Kelly’s old adversary Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), who is struggling to come to terms with the impending gay wedding of his best friend Pete (Dave Franco).

Bad Neighbours 2 is just as lewd and crude as its predecessor, replete with menstrual blood, a bright pink sex toy and one actor’s pendulous undercarriage.

Rogen and Efron fling themselves into the physically demanding set pieces, while Byrne and Moretz prove they can be potty-mouthed minxes without completely relinquishing their femininity.

A few gags hit their mark including a salty sideswipe at Bill Cosby.

Sweetness is the sequel’s weakness and ultimately, the only casualty of this hard-fought war is realism.