Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 photo starrating-3andahalfstars.jpg“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s the apparent mantra of Pitch Perfect 2. In 2012, Pitch Perfect was an obvious riff on Bring It On, but instead of competitive cheerleading, it was a cappella singing. Despite the familiarity, it was a delightful bit of fluff . The presentation was charming and it had a nice soundtrack to boot. Now in 2015 we have the sequel. Perhaps less innovative given we’ve seen this all before, but nevertheless it’s enchanting as well.

The saga picks up 3 years after the original. The Barden Bellas — collegiate champions — are now headed by Beca (Anna Kendrick) and Chloe (Brittany Snow). They’re rounded out by the same team of lovable music geeks, including goofy Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), soft-spoken Korean Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), lesbian African-American Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean) and new Guatemalan exchange student Flo (Chrissie Fit). Talented and likable characters all. Fat Amy comes across the best because she seems like a fully formed individual. The rest have apparently been assigned one funny gag each to which they apparently must promote into the ground. Flo grew up very poor for example and she reminds us of this fact over and over and over. They’re not the focus so these formulaic conventions don’t detract, but a little more nuance to their personalities would’ve been appreciated.

There are some random subplots too. Beca interns at a high profile recording studio headed by a cruel music producer (Keegan-Michael Key). Fat Amy’s burgeoning romance with Bumper (Adam DeVine) continues to grow. And how will new recruit freshman Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) fare in the group? She is a legacy whose mother was also a Barden Bella. Her songwriting talents blend with Beca’s producing skills. Emily’s original composition “Flashlight” seeks to duplicate the success of “Cups” from the last film. Emily even develops a little on-screen romance with adorkable Treblemaker Benji (Ben Platt). Unfortunately his fellow Treblemaker Jesse (Skylar Astin) barely registers any screen time in this outing. Oh but Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are back as politically incorrect color commentators. They’re good for some giggles. In fact, Pitch Perfect 2 is funnier. The script by Kay Cannon and Mickey Rapkin keeps the rapid-fire humor coming at a steady pace. An offhand reference to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor? Impressive.

Plotwise this is virtually the same thing. The story even begins with yet another public disgrace at a competition. They’re performing live for President Obama and one of the girls has a, shall we say, wardrobe malfunction. The incident is dubbed “Muffgate”. The team must now regroup and prove themselves once again. The disgraced Bellas are banned from contests at the collegiate level. Although they are not prevented from competing internationally. Thank goodness for loopholes. This time it’s at the world championships in Copenhagen where they must face rivals from schools on a global level. Thing is, no U.S. a cappella group has ever won this event before. Can they do it? If you really think they don’t have a chance then can I interest you in purchasing some prime Florida swampland?

To be quite honest, the predictability of the narrative is kind of the selling point. You come for songs, jokes and camaraderie and you’re given exactly that. However now the laughs are bigger, the music is better, and the cameos are more badass. I can’t spoil who pops up, but there are some very amusing appearances. Several are highlighted in an exclusive invite only a cappella riff-off. (YES another one). Here the Bellas battle against one special guest team of note I won’t reveal. Also competing at the party are all-boy harmony group The Treblemakers, Barden University alumni The Tonehangers, and a spectacular German group co-led by Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) and Pieter (Flula Borg). Das Sound Machine is a formidable opponent of Teutonic vocal precision and intense choreography. They are the primary antagonists of the film. Kommissar “actually speaks 8 languages, but loser is not one of them.” They perform “Uprising” by Muse at a car show and it’s breathtaking. I can say without hesitation that it was THEIR finale at the world championships that impressed me the most.

Pitch Perfect 2 goes down easily by championing wholesome values like friendship, teamwork and the importance of practice in between gently outrageous PG-13 rated behavior. The first category in the mid-story riff-off is “Songs About Butts” which allows for an admittedly inspired medley of “Thong Song”, “Shake Your Booty”, “Low”, “Bootylicious” and “Baby Got Back.” The musical ditty is just one of many exhilarating numbers throughout the film. I didn’t expect to hear Pat Benatar’s “We Belong” or Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark”. It’s the music that propels this retread into a must see experience.

05-17-15

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17 Responses to “Pitch Perfect 2”

  1. magnolia12883 Says:

    You liked it more than I did but it’s not bad

  2. It was too much like the first one and although enjoyable I was slightly disappointed by it. Plus I though Das Sound Machine was the better group and should have won 😉

  3. smilingldsgirl Says:

    It totally does the Mighty Ducks 2 sequel treatment but it did make me laugh.

    • Not having seen D2: The Mighty Ducks, I’m guessing that’s a criticism but I know people who LOVE that movie too. LOL 😀

      • smilingldsgirl Says:

        Not a criticism. Just the same formula. For part 1 be nationals but part 2 world’s but it be basically the same movie. You could use Rocky movies. I liked Pitch Perfect 2. It was funny but it is that kind of sequel.

      • smilingldsgirl Says:

        I think people have nostalgia for Mighty Ducks which are harmless little sports movies. If I was bored I could do worse

  4. Nothing spectacular about this sequel, but it was harmless fun. I laughed quite a bit, and enjoyed the competitions. I especially liked the little singing battle that took place in the underground basement. 3 1/2 stars.

  5. I thought it was definitely better than the first movie (which I found extremely obnoxious), but it still wasn’t as funny as it could have been. I laughed pretty hard at the cameos, especially from Barack Obama, Snoop Dogg, and the Green Bay Packers, but there were also those completely gross out moments (like when Fat Amy announced that she was gonna wipe her ass on the side of the tent, yuck) that made me wish I was not in the theater.

  6. I am just starting out on my site bennyhreviews where I am basically mocking films. Tell me what you think of it in the comments section.

  7. Nuance in the characters’ personalities would have made Pitch Perfect 2 a much better film. I didn’t care for how certain characters just existed to be the butt of racist or homophobic jokes. The humor/action comes at a steadier pace, but I think the movie’s mean humor and political incorrectness are a huge turn off. The Muffgate thing is funny, although I think the plot is needlessly complicated with the fallout from it. Simply raising the stakes so that everyone could compete in a world competition would have been enough for me. Another thing that annoys me is that I feel like Das Soundmachine got all the good songs. I know the Bellas are supposed to be the underdogs, however it would be nice to hear them sing some better songs before the film’s finale.

    • I’ll admit that not all of the jokes are funny. However I didn’t find any of the humor mean spirited. Now Get Hard was extremely offensive but you enjoyed that. Humor is so subjecive.

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