Pitch Perfect 2 (2015): We’re Back Pitches

Posted: May 30, 2015 in Comedy, Music
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pitchperfect2posterHaving had three straight years of success, the Barden Bellas are given the opportunity to sing in front of the President of the United States. When things do not go as planned, it gets very bad very quickly. Though Beca is secretly pursuing a music production career through a recording studio internship, the Bellas are stripped of their tour and denied the ability to continue competing at the college level. In order to get back into good graces with the a cappella community, the Bellas go on a mission to compete in the world competition. The task will not be easy, with the German group Das Sound Machine looking nearly flawless in their efforts to erase the Bellas from existence. As the pressure rises, the girls begin to realize how difficult their climb will be.

Review: Riding the success of the cultural impact of the first film, Pitch Perfect 2 did little to revolutionize their formula but rather tried to stick with what they know: somewhat weird and offensive humor and excellent musical mashups. Anna Kendrick (Beca) reprised her role as the inspiration of the women’s group. She projected a bit more confidence and ambition this time around, but her role in the comedy was a bit more subdued for her newer focus as more of a source of conflict for the girls. Rebel Wilson (Fat Amy) continued to command a lot of attention opposite Adam DeVine (Bumper). While their odd sense of a relationship seemed to be a focal point for the film, it did little to truly add to the comedic opportunity with its overly stale and played out humor. Many of the other stars of the first film, including Brittany Snow (Chloe), Skylar Astin (Jesse), Anna Camp (Aubrey), and Hana Mae Lee (Lilly), were reduced to background characters in lieu of the newcomers Chrissie Fit (Flo) and Hailee Steinfeld (Emily). While Chrissie added a Latina element to the somewhat stereotypical, racist humor, Hailee served as more of a source of newness and inspiration for the story to develop a new sound for a cappella.

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Taking a moment to go focus on the comedy…a sequel may not be required to improve upon the formula, but it should find a way to build upon its past success. The dynamic of John and Gail was both a bit excessive and pointed in its recognition of both racial and gender-based comedy. The international theme, with both the world competition and inclusion of Flo, allowed for a new combination of racist jokes on top of the sexist ones. Much of it felt like it was trying too hard to be offensive, even though some of the pointing out of stereotypes was actually funny. As for Fat Amy and Bumper, the story was definitely stale. As I said before, they explored the relationship in the first film and took a natural progression in this one. There was opportunity to actually focus even a bit more on the music, which did tend to be a strongpoint for the film.

As with the first film, the music and its transformation into a cappella was fascinating. Although the German team’s version of some of the songs felt overly stiff, the overall selection of music was fun and engaging. As with the riff-off in the first film, a musical competition popped in to allow for a great combination of songs to be transformed in a short period of time. In addition, there was the return of the Tone Hangers (and actually performing good music) as well as the Green Bay Packers, led by Clay Matthews. As the group struggled to find their identity, the film took a step away from the good projection of music. Moving into the finale, there was a great surprise in the final performance and the overall presentation can take your breath away.

While skeptical about the continuation of the same comedic formula and even with the imperfections of the storytelling, this film had a lot of great elements that made the first film a success and added a few really interesting elements to keep the music alive.

Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5

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