PITCH PERFECT 2 (2015)
Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Katey Sagal, Anna Camp, Ben Platt, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Chrissie Fit, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Flula Borg, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, John Hodgman, Jason Jones, Joe Lo Truglio, Reggie Watts, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks and Snoop Dogg.
Screenplay by Kay Cannon.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks.
Distributed by Universal Pictures. 115 minutes. Rated PG-13.
A few years ago everyone was rather surprised that out of nowhere Pitch Perfect, a cute, kinda funny, rather enjoyable little movie, turned out to be a pretty big hit. After all, the film had almost no big stars (the lead actress was Anna Kendrick and producer Elizabeth Banks played essentially a cameo role) and it was about a capella singing (capitalizing on the then-omnipresence of the TV hit Glee), ferchrissake.
It was pretty inevitable that a sequel would eventually come down and here it is. Well, Pitch Perfect 2 is also a cute, kinda funny, rather enjoyable little movie, and somehow it is also a good deal better than the original. It’s still far from perfect, but it is a lot of fun. And hell, just the fact that they jettisoned all the projectile vomiting gags raises this film way above the original.
Banks is back in her cameo role as clueless announcer Gail, but her more important role here is as director. This is the first time that the popular actress has stepped behind the camera and she does a quite fine job of it. Certainly Pitch Perfect 2 is no deep or tricky first dip, but Banks shows a fine eye as a director and hopefully will continue to stretch those muscles.
As always with sequels, Pitch Perfect 2 takes the original storyline and tries to make everything bigger, but surprisingly the laughs are bigger as well. The Barden Bellas have moved on from their underdog days of the first film – they start the film as three time American champions – but of course they have to be pushed back into the losers category.
This happens when a crowning performance at the Kennedy Center Honors (in front of a stock-footage President and Mrs. Obama) turns out to be a bit of a disaster when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has a wardrobe malfunction during a Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” stunt, mistakenly beavering the President, the crowd, and millions of viewers. The Bellas are stripped of their status, the only way they can return to honor is by winning the international competitions – a feat that no American team has ever done.
Their main competition is Das Sound Machine, a Eurotrash Aryan supergroup (consider the old SNL skit “Sprockets” with women as well as men) that is nearly perfect. The Bellas are intimidated by the competition, but through friendship and trust they work towards the finals.
In the meantime Beca (Kendricks) works towards her dream of becoming a music producer. I must admit that I took a certain amount of satisfaction in the scene in which a professional music producer character explained to Beca that mash-ups aren’t real songs and that she has to come up with something original. Even though it flies in the face of the franchise’s musical choices, it was a bold stand to take.
But let’s face it, the storyline of Pitch Perfect 2 is almost superfluous. There are only two questions that need to be answered: Is it funny? And are there good musical numbers? Happily the answer is positive for both.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September 21, 2015.