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PITCH PERFECT 2 (review)

Review by Caitlyn Thompson
Produced by Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks, 
Kay Cannon, Max Handelman, Jeff Levine
Written by Kay Cannon
Based on Characters created by Kay Cannon and 
Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory
 by Mickey Rapkin
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
Starring Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, 
Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, 
Alexis Knapp, Hailee Steinfeld, Chrissie Fit

Finally. A spring film I enjoyed!

Perhaps I’ve been starved for something entertaining.

Perhaps I’m biased because I thoroughly enjoy A cappella.

Regardless, I loved Pitch Perfect 2. 

The Barden Bellas are back as three time national champions, dazzling crowds with sequins, powerful ballads and fun choreography.

But of course, their derailment occurs upon the untimely exposure of Rebel Wilson’s lady parts.

News of “muffgate” ensues and their name is disgraced.

Banned from collegiate-level performances, the only hope for redemption is to win the World Championships. And who better to rival than the overwhelming accented reigning champions from Germany, Das Sound Machine? Beautifully tall, clad in tight leather, the ensemble was incredible to watch. The percussion alone was mind-blowing.

The back and forth digs between DSM and Bellas was endlessly silly and too clever to be realistic, but nevertheless remained amusing.

One thing I couldn’t wrap my head around was why DSM’s accents remained so damn thick as they sang. Don’t accents usually disappear during musical numbers for the most part? I mean, I didn’t know the Spice Girls were British for a long time…

Many scenes of Pitch Perfect 2 are over-the-top. An example: David Cross’ cameo as an A cappella obsessed host to an underground singing competition. Which was phenomenal. The songs never stopped and they were all great. Harmonious and well-produced.

Yes. I was dancing in my seat a little. Maybe a lot. 

The movie has a visceral quality that definitely promotes some shoulder bouncing from the audience.

The camera work makes each performance exciting and wild with a combination of swarming pans and slow motion sequences always paired with awesome beats. The soundtrack, for those children of the nineties (like me), is friggin’ dope. Song compilations are intriguing, complex and sounded wonderful. I just would have liked to hear more live performances instead of the digitally enhanced ones necessary for the best possible film presentation.

Now, the new aspects of Pitch Perfect 2. The newest member of the Bellas is Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), a legacy of the singing group desperate to share her original songs. I didn’t like her and the group didn’t really like her – she annoyingly overacted and the chemistry between her and the rest of the cast was unnatural.

I much prefer her as the vengeful and quietly fierce young lady in True Grit. Comedy isn’t her thing.

Beca (Anna Kendrick) also has decided to think outside of her A cappella life and has begun working at a production company. She gets a hard dose of reality from her full-of-insults boss played by Keegan Michael Key – she isn’t original, a problem she must face as her group tumbles towards the World Championships.

Admittedly, I was mildly disappointed with Kendrick’s performance in comparison to her role in the first Pitch Perfect. She bumbled about and didn’t have that confident, quick-wit, badass attitude that made her so lovable. She’s still amazing because she’s Anna Kendrick, but I felt her character could have been stronger.

To be fair, the film didn’t focus much on characters, and when it did, it was goofy and light. On that note, a quick shout out to Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine – always bizarrely delightful. And of course, Brittany Snow and Skylar Astin are respectively adorable and charming as usual.

For those sensitive to endless offensive gender and race jokes, I warn you they make up the majority of the script – which is almost absent as the film is essentially a non-stop song fest – and usually come from the hilarious A cappella hosts, Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins).

Banks and Higgins really can do no wrong, delivering lines using inflected dry tones with fluid chemistry.

HI-larious. 

I will say, if you’re not into crude humor, I don’t recommend the movie. It’s non-stop.

Really.

Pitfalls aside, Pitch Perfect 2 is a great follow-up for the fans of the first film. Girl-power fun, scary German dances, and constant pleasurable excess of offensive jokes.

Bring a group of A cappella enthusiasts and rock out.

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