Synopsis – After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform.
My Take – Back in 2012, a chick flick which capitulated the actors of the film – Anna Kendrick & Rebel Wilson to star status, while doing so also made one of the most underrated & often ridiculed form of singing ‘a capella’ kinda cool! Frankly the film was awesome!! Yet one of the main reasons for me to watch this sequel other than seeing Anna Kendrick and the crew back, is that this film is the directorial debut of one of my favorite actresses Elizabeth Banks! The first film came out of left field and bowled most of us over. It is one of the best and most fun comedy musicals ever and a modern day classic already in my opinion. Did it need a sequel? Absolutely not. But Hollywood can’t ever say no to more potential money so a sequel was green lit. I was cautiously optimistic because as much as it didn’t need a sequel, I wanted to have fun with the Bellas again and wanted it to be good! Well luckily the film is as good as the first, maybe not better but yet very enjoyable! What really gives this film and the one before it a lot of its spontaneity was by the A Capella moments where each singer has to emote and build a beat only by using their vocal chords, and since this is Generation Y it has to be modern “Pop” songs, well most of them are quite known. For those terrified if the film would just be a two and a half hour of weird song, you can rejoice in hearing that the songs and ways they are sung are not only good, but also memorable in execution. Especially in the fact that the music actually sounds like music and not a bunch of beat boxers trying too hard! The sequel follows the collegiate a cappella group ‘The Barden Bellas’, who after three years of success, while performing for President Obama, at the Kennedy Center become a nationwide disgrace when ‘Fat Amy’ (Rebel Wilson) has a wardrobe malfunction. Due to the incident, they are banned from doing any shows, or competing in any challenges, ever again. The girls realize that they’re only chance of continuing on, as an a cappella team, is to compete in the world tournament, and win. They must travel to Copenhagen, in order to do so. At the same time a freshman, named Emily Junk (Haylee Steinfeld), joins their team; and Becca (Anna Kendrick) secretly pursues a career as a music producer, by starting an internship at a successful recording studio.
Everyone is familiar with these characters by now and we all wanted to see what could happen to them after the first movie. So the good things in this a cappella world aside, now we are witnessing those characters growing older and becoming real people. This film allows us to spend more time on characters that people love, to tell more of their stories and to see where these women be at three years later. While in the first one it was more about coming together, bonding and being freshmen; this film mainly deals with the notion of graduation as their in majority in their last year of college, companionship they have in college that will last forever as Bellas will always be Bellas, moving on, breaking apart, leaving the nest, staring life right in the face and going their separate ways. However they find themselves right back where they started: as underdogs of a cappella. There are a lot going on this time, plot- and character -wise. Some endearing elements were taken back from the first film such as the romance between Beca and Jesse, that keep all the component in harmony as they are settled characters. Indeed they are a nice balance to the melodramatic aspect of the movie, grounded to the real stakes of this world. The film trips up a bit when the Bella’s all go to what I can assume is “Bella Boot Camp”. It’s long, unfunny, and serves only for each character to try and tie up any kind of loose ends. A full Eighth of the film takes place here, and while that doesn’t sound long, in a movie like this, it eats a good chunk of screen time that could be enjoyed on the singing. The only funny part in that whole scene was with a bear trap for obvious reasons. The two best parts in the film involve both an A Capella music battle that has the Green Bay Packers, seriously, and the final A Capella competition in Copenhagen. Both involve Das Sound Machine, the obligatory all German villains who couldn’t look anymore evil unless they were wearing Stahlhelms and driving around Panzers on the stage before singing. Well, both prove to be formidable by their stage presence and vocal superiority. Most of the songs by DSM are big. They sound big, and they make it look big as well. Granted, both couldn’t be more stereotypically evil, but they do have a likability to those with an ear for that kind of thing. Yet once again Fat Amy, starring Rebel Wilson, is very charismatic. She embodies a confident woman that never thinks about her size at all. Proving that your body type doesn’t determine your fate in life.
Giving her a real love story with Bumper (Adam DeVine) was such a good idea as both actors share a great chemistry together. John Michael Higgins’ character smoothly delivers his misogynistic lines such as “Let’s hear it from the girls too ugly to be cheerleaders!”, and casual racism throughout the movie is even funnier this time around! The newcomer everyone is talking about is Hailee Steinfeld is quite good! This girl is a fantastic actress and a great singer as it turns out. She is a welcomed addition to the cast, has good chemistry with Kendrick and could lead the film series going forward. Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow are also great. Is it me or Anna Kendrick keeps getting prettier! Snow and Kendrick have great chemistry but its a little less obvious as it was in the first film because presumably the characters are already established. Elizabeth Banks gives her directorial debut with this film and she shows some talent for sure but the ground work had already been laid. I’m impressed that screenwriter Kay Cannon isn’t someone who has been around in film for ages but clearly knows comedy and knows what works. Banks has crafted a sequel that’s edgier, sexier and best of all more female centered than the first one. Showing that women can be as funny as men, at times even funnier. It’s impossible to make a perfect movie, even more impossible to make a perfect sequel. Any fault found in the sequel comes at the expense of trying to both honor the original film and outdo it. Unusually for a sequel, the film allows characters to grow and begins pushing them in different directions. Honestly, I was surprised to find out, just how good the first movie is; mainly due to how popular it’s become, with teen girls. Still I carried my doubts, about this sequel, because it’s even more successful; with the kind of audience that (seems) to usually love movie like ‘Twilight’. On the whole, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ proved once again that a cappella is not lame at all, with a nerdy and inspirational movie and with much more sophisticated layered music. Pitch Perfect 2 is fun!! It is a worthy sequel that builds on its characters but mostly just continues the story from the first. A perfect date night movie that anyone can enjoy. Die-hard fans of the original will say anything but something critical about the film, casual fans will approach with apprehension, and anyone who doesn’t fall into those two categories will trash it because something that started out small, as a cult like sleeper hit, is now popular and in the mainstream. So this is the battle facing everyone involved with Pitch Perfect 2, and thankfully it’s a battle the cast and crew come out of as close to the top as possible. Would love to see you back pitches!
Director – Elizabeth Banks
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 115 minutes