Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
Some three years ago, there was a film about acapella singing that opened to rave reviews. Starting a young, relative unknown cast and putting its world in the college scene of collegiate, competitive singing, Universal piggybacked off that success and followed up with a sequel.
FILM REVIEW: Pitch Perfect
The Barden Bellas are still on top of the world, happily enjoying their national win. Then, everything comes to a halt during a performance at Lincoln Center. With the President in attendance. Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has an, ahem, wardrobe malfunction that causes an outrage and bans them from enjoying the rest of their tour not to mention accepting new members. The only thing they find a way around is their right to compete in an International Championship – an event the Americans never win and are, in fact, hated. Trouble is all of the girls are handling the news of their disqualification very differently.
Becca (Anna Kendrick) is happy for this reprieve. She doesn’t want her entire college career to be about singing. Instead she accepts an internship (without telling her friends) and neglects her commitment to them. Chloe (Brittany Snow) loses it, believing that her entire college life revolves around this group – after all, this is why she still hasn’t graduated. Then there is the new girl.
As a legacy, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) believes getting a spot on the Barden Bellas is her first task when she steps onto the campus. Her mother was a Bella and both women have been dreaming of this moment ever since Emily was a young girl. What Emily doesn’t know is the Bellas are unable to accept new members…
Much as I adore these characters and the films they come to life in, I will say this upfront these movies aren’t for everyone. There’s a unique kind of humor they have going, plus, naturally the song covers they sing are of the secular variety, and subject to very few “rules.” Moving past that, it’s safe to say, this sequel lived up to my expectations and then some. I enjoyed everything about it from the return of the primary cast to the hilarious rapport they have as these characters. Returning to their world was acca-awesome (sorry, had to use one of their buzz words as a descriptor. It’s sort of a necessity when discussing these films).
What is, really, best about these films are the friendships. Throughout both films, there is a lot of typical “girl stuff” that crops up, and through it all, their friendships keep the story somehow “real” and entertaining to experience. This film does a nice job of incorporating all of the familiar faces, in spite of one now being alumni. The cast carries their characters well, and I love each of their unique personalities including Becca’s snarky rebel (though her reaction to their competition is... weird); Fat Amy’s easy-going, free-spirited personality, and even, Chloe’s hyper attitude about the Bellas – something she apparently picked up in the wake of Aubrey’s leaving. There was some talk that Anna Kendrick wasn’t the same in this film as she was in the first, and there are moments I felt that too. She sort of “checks out” in parts of the story, but for me, I wasn’t bothered because it’s too much fun even without her being always “in the zone” as it were.
Hard as I try not to, comparisons inevitably make it into the equation. And that’s what I feel like I’ve done in this review. Between the familiar faces and similar plot, there are a lot of similarities between the two scripts. As always, the music helps sell the story and creates some great moments that integrate with the music (everything from original music to a plethora of covers feature on the films track list). Helping to breathe some fresh life into the set-up is Hailee’s Emily. Emily is a sweet, hard-not-to-like 19-year-old whose voice and talent not only spark something missing in the Bellas, it helps to remind them who they are. Hailee is, of course, one of Hollywood’s most talented young stars and for my fellow young adult book nerds she was recently cast to star in Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love.
If you liked Pitch Perfect and didn’t mind its humor, you’re sure to enjoy this sequel. It was the perfect summer blockbuster to get out to the theater and see, and enjoy. It was also a perfect girl’s day out with my mom, sitting in an empty theater where we could giggle our way through catching up with these crazies. And believe me, I did just that.
(Rated PG13 for various sexual innuendoes including winking references to two people enjoying a careful relationship based solely on “hook ups.” Fat Amy’s blunder involves her pants spitting during a performance, which inspires some jokes. There is some minor [in comparison] profanity.)