Matching pitch isn’t always easy, but Pitch Perfect 2 tries to do just that, with its humor, its songs, and its cast all brought back for that one last aca-hoorah. The sequel isn’t quite given the benefit of the doubt. After all, it’s a sequel to a movie about an a cappella group that sucked everyone in with its random humor, its harmonizing, and its memorable characters. And while the Barden Bellas are back to give us some more a cappella and competition, Pitch Perfect 2 is essentially the same formula with just enough new characters and spin on scenes to make it entertaining without having the surprise and ingenuity of its predecessor.
Becca (Anna Kendrick), Chloe (Brittany Snow) and their Barden Bella a cappella group (which includes Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy and Ester Dean as Cynthia Rose) are back. Now with three national championship titles under their belt, they’ve become a household name. However, an embarrassing performance gone wrong at the Kennedy Center (and in front of President Obama) cause awkward commentators Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) to suspend them from their tour, prevent them from bringing on new recruits, and ban them from performing at Nationals.
Unless they can beat German a cappella group Das Sound Machine, the reigning world champions (even Becca is so wound up around leader Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) she can’t even curse at them properly), at the world a cappella competition, then the Bellas will never sing again. Back are favorites Jessie (Skylar Astin), Bumper (Adam DeVine), and Benji (Ben Platt), along with some new romances, a new Bella (Hailee Steinfeld) who can write her own music, and Becca’s hard-to-please producer boss (Keegan-Michael Key). But as they’re all nearing graduation and Becca is swamped with trying to get her foot in the door at a music production label, will the Bellas be able to go out with a bang?
The filmmakers, now with Elizabeth Banks in the director’s chair, certainly know what made the original film tick. And they bring all of this back tenfold for the sequel. Sidelined however, are certain characters and storylines (Jessie is barely in the film, a major disappointment) to make way for more humor and spectacle. Even the music is pushed to the back burner, not disappearing altogether, but most definitely not given as much attention as it had in the first film. The first half of the film is fantastic, but as the film progresses some of the new plots which made their presence known in the beginning get rushed, and there’s just something about the film that doesn’t flow as well as the first film.
Of course, the charm and the musical in-jokes are still there. Also making the film more fun are the cameos of Snoop Dogg and even the Green Bay Packers who unexpectedly end up in a sing-off. Some other characters are given more time to shine and while that’s well and good, it does create a slightly rickety road to the end. And while the one major disappointment is not seeing Jessie and his relationship with Becca as much as one expects (really, he’s in the film for a couple of major scenes at most), Pitch Perfect 2 is still entertaining and fun. And if you enjoyed the formula of the first film (no, it’s still not as aca-awesome as the original), then you’ll at least enjoy its sequel for what it is.
Release Date: May 15, 2015 | Director: Elizabeth Banks | Screenwriter: Kay Cannon | Cast: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Camp, Ester Dean, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Flula Borg, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Chrissie Fit, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Ben Platt, Keegan-Michael Key, Katey Sagal | Genre: Comedy, Music | MPAA Rating: PG-13 for innuendo and language