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How Feminism Absolutely Crushed ‘Neighbors 2’

It took five men to write “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.” But they weren’t alone.

Two women played a big role in the comedy sequel’s production. And how did that work out?

The sequel, starring Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as parents battling partying college students, snared less than half of the original’s opening weekend haul. Over the Memorial Day weekend, “Neighbors 2” sank more than 50 percent from that tally.

In short, it’s already one of the summer’s biggest disappointments, commercially speaking. It’s hard to pinpoint why a particular film fails at the box office. The competition could be too stiff. The story simply didn’t warrant a sequel. Or the stars’ collective appeal isn’t what it was just a scant two years ago.

What’s crystal clear, though, is how politically correct posturing and the need to send a “message” left a serious mark on the stoner sequel.

It also suffocated some of the laughs found in the 2014 original.

RELATED: Comic Recalls How Clinton Jokes Killed HBO Deal

A peek behind the scenes, courtesy of The New York Daily News, finds how the movie’s creative process was repeatedly interrupted.feminism-neighbors-2-poster

Maria Blasucci and Amanda Lund took part in a roundtable discussion connected to the script prior to production. They later graduated to script consultants, staying aboard the project to offer their advice along the way.

Or, as the newspaper puts it, provide “quality control.”

Director Nicholas Stoller, who previously gave us the terrific “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” told the Daily News about his goal for the comedy sequel.

“I have two daughters and it was really important to me that when they’re old enough it’s something that I’m proud to show them, that it’s an empowering film,” he said.

That empowerment resulted in one of the more politically correct films of the modern era. Star/co-writer Rogen embraced the film’s feminism both behind the scenes and during the film’s promotional push.

He even recently admitted to being ashamed of some of the jokes he’s written in the past, like some of the banter heard in the 2007 smash “Superbad.” He called some of the dialogue “blatantly homophobic.”

Feminism and Hollywood

It’s understandable that Hollywood players recognize the serious gender disparity in their industry. It’s not a liberal talking point. It’s reality. And we see it in almost every aspect of filmmaking today.

  • The dearth of female-led blockbusters
  • The tiny number of women behind the scenes
  • The “beauty” standards women must meet opposed to men

Yet having a film essentially hire female consultants isn’t just embarrassing. It’s wrong.

Why can’t men write quality roles for women without someone lurking over their shoulder? Woody Allen has been doing just that for decades. A good writer can tap into both sexes without scurrying for expert opinions.

And, of course, women are fully capable of writing three-dimensional male characters. The fact that this even needs to be said is silly. And depressing. It’s a sign of the times all the same.

Stoller recalls how one “Neighors 2” sequence got stripped thanks to the aforementioned consultants. The bit involved a “camel toe party,” which the writers assumed was the equivalent of a “boner party.”

Blasucci and Lund dismissed the idea, dubbing it “disgusting.” So you won’t see that sequence in the film.

Another revelation from the “Neighbors 2” interviews? The word “feminism” is poison to many, apparently.

The film’s writers originally planned to mock the sorority sisters for claiming to be feminists. The running gag, though, was that none of the sorority sisters truly knew what feminism was all about. They weren’t even sure what the word meant.

That gag met with stiff resistance from focus groups.

“When we tested it, the word feminism was so divisive to the audience that we literally had to cut the word out of the film,” Stoller says.

Yet they went ahead and made a movie that plays like feminism on steroids. And they wonder why the film is under-performing.

Movies with a Message

Lund recalled shooting the film’s tailgate sequence and being impressed by the enormity of the project.

“I can’t believe I’m on a movie this big that’s going to have an important message,” Lund says.

Audiences apparently cared less about the message they hoped to send. They just wanted to laugh.

The “Neighbors 2” project points to something more sinister than another box office disappointment. What if more movies are made this way? Could we see westerns where various special interest groups weigh in on the script during the production? Romantic comedies where “experts” decry the balance of power in the relationships on screen?

Maybe these experts will have even more say than Lund and Blasucci did on “Neighbors 2?”

If so, how much of that will impact the finished product?

It’s bad enough that comedians have to worry if sending the “wrong” tweet could seriously damage their careers. Now, filmmakers may wonder the same about the stories they write, the characters they create.

There’s nothing funny about the drip, drip drip attack on creative freedom, even in the name of “empowerment” and sending an “important message.”

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38 Comments

  1. This essay is simply gross. The director, Nicholas Stoller, decided how the standards would be set. He brought in consultants he trusted. His creative freedom was in NO WAY restricted. You chose a really bad example, because no one forced Stoller to process the script this way. He exercised his own artistic prerogative.
    He’s decided to create work that he would be proud to show his daughters. That ain’t ‘political correctness.’ That’s love.

    1. “he would be proud to show his daughters”.

      Like the scene where the sorority girls throw blood soaked tampons at windows? Like that? THAT “artistic perogative” is not something I would be proud to show any child of mine.

      1. Excellent point, which supports my contention that this had absolutely nothing to do with political correctness.

        1. You’d be surprised by the dissonance between what Progressives claim is progressive political correctness and how they behave and shape it.

          They are more often projecting their own heinous ideas onto other people when they decry injustices and microagressions and then turn around and produce products like this.

          Look at Deadpool for another example, the director is a progressive and they called out other movies for turning women into sex objects. So what do they do next? Proceed to be the only movie I’ve ever watched where the lead female was nothing but as sex object and that was the extent of their relationship.

          Frankly I think you are kidding yourself if you think Political Correctness is anything other than this. This is how these people behave, look no further than feminist art and you’ll see this is exactly what they consider politically correct and progressive.

          1. “the only movie I’ve ever watched where the lead female was nothing but as[sic] sex object and that was the extent of their relationship.”

            Really? The *only* movie? Maybe you should see a few more movies before you start venturing into social criticism.

          2. Nah. I don’t watch garbage social commentary, at best it’s misguided and ideologically predisposed making it irrelevant as the commentary often is the exact definition of what they’re saying is wrong. At worse it’s just hypocritical so we can act like we’re better than other people.

            And Yes this is the only movie I’ve seen that just turns the female into a sex object. I’ve seen movies where the female didn’t have much screen time and engaged in sex, but during that limited time and even the story demonstrated she had a personality and their relationship was more grounded than just having sex. Deadpool presented their who relationship as sex and then tried to cook up some horrible backstory to justify her liking sex that much. Like a health individual can’t be sex positive, you have to literally be massively abused as a child to enjoy having sex frequently. In that regard it’s worse than anything it’s mocking since it’s removing agency from women, portaying them as the unwilling victims of circumstance instead of actors in their own life. Which is by definition sexist.

            Also I don’t watch social commentary because it is more enjoyable to listen to people who know what they’re talking about regarding problems that face our society. It’s more enlightening that just sitting there feeling smug because you watched a movie make an ass of itself by mocking others that rarely if ever stoop to the lows the movie goes to.

          3. A lot of hacks claim Satire as a shield for their bad writing. This is definitely a case of that. The director isn’t exactly a smart person.

    2. So he is going to show his daughters a crappy movie, that bombed and hurt his professional career? Way to go, dad. The hero I always wanted.

    3. All of you really need to make up your minds. If you are so offended by the movie, then aren’t you yourself imposing ‘political correctness’ of your own? This is why the concept of ‘political correctness’ is such BS, people always use that label for people they disagree with, are always SO certain that they themselves would never be so close-minded, yet in the same breath they reveal their own intolerance.

      1. We weren’t the ones on site acting as ‘consultants’. Face it, your progressive garbage destroys creativity.

        1. Whether or not you are correct in general(I don’t think you are), the fact of the matter is that on this particular movie the director’s creative expression was not limited in any way.
          Those consultants were hired by the director-no one forced him to hire them- and he agreed with most of their recommendations. By the way, movies have hired consultants as standard practice for decades. This is nothing new.
          If you want to make an argument about liberals ruining creativity, then this example is not the one you want. If the studio had forced him to obey these consultants, or a corporate sponsor had pressured him to do this, then you would have a point about creative freedom. But they were hired on the director’s own initiative to help him realize his own vision of what the movie should be. He actually showed MORE creative independence by hiring them. I’ll bet the studio would have greatly preferred that he cater even more to the 14-year-old boys in the audience. That would have certainly been more profitable.
          The truth is that people prefer to label something ‘politically correct’ rather than accept that it just doesn’t cater to their own biases.

    1. Pistachios are radishes.
      Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are Objectivist Libertarians.
      Chocolate tastes like vomit.

      Ok, I’m bored. Making random unsupported assertions is just a little too easy.

  2. This article is obvious, and only unique in it’s courage to discuss the issue. Feminism kills creation. This is especially true for comedy.

    1. Nothing courageous about crying “Politically correct!” anytime someone has a different opinion. That’s just lazy.

      1. The movie bombed, the consultants sucked, and the movies staff were cowards. There are three other points for you. Try again.

          1. More like conclusions based on the first point. Let me put it this way, if I was making a movie there is no way I would hire anyone involved with this movie, even if they offered to work for free.

          2. And you would be exercising artistic freedom in doing so, just as was done in this case.

          3. In the age of piss Christ and poop pictures, “art” is extremely subjective, but commercial success, or lack thereof is not.

          4. I do not disagree. But many great works are not commercially successful, and many crappy ones are. That’s really not my concern.
            ‘Neighbors 2’ isn’t very good. But that’s not my point, either.

          5. I am not really sure what your point is, no offense. By every available measure ‘neighbors 2’ was horrible art, and the people that made it are responsible for that fact. This isn’t just my opinion, the movie bombed for a reason.

          6. I never claimed it was any good. I simply objected to the idea that the REASON it wasn’t good was “political correctness.” I also objected to the idea that “political correctness” somehow limited the director’s artistic freedom. It did not. That is my entire point.

          7. They admit that it did… The guy wanted a “movie he could show his daughters”. That was the purpose of the politically correct consultants. That was the whole point. Not sure how you can deny that.

          8. What is your definition of ‘politically correct?’
            In my book, if you do something because you believe it is best for your family, and NOT because of social pressure, that is the exact OPPOSITE of ‘political correctness.’
            The consultants were not ‘politically correct.’ They were hired to help him identify elements that met his own criteria of ‘he could show his daughters.’ That’s got nothing to do with what is or isn’t ‘politically correct.’ It’s about what he believes is best for his daughter.
            Like I said before, if the standards had been forced upon him by someone else, like a sponsor or the studio, then you could make the argument that he was being ‘politically correct.’ That didn’t happen here. It was all his call, and all his own personal beliefs that went into the decision making.
            The fact that it wasn’t any good is down to lack of talent, and that is all.

  3. “Important message”. Oh please oh please oh please Hollywood geniuses, explain to us unwashed idiots how we are to live and think. We cannot live without your stern guidance!

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