The Hippo


Oct 16, 2019








Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 (PG-13)
Film Reviews by Amy Diaz

By Amy Diaz

Pitch Perfect 2 (PG-13)

The one-time underdog Barden Bellas attempt to regain their first-class status after a performance hiccup as the gang from the first movie heads toward graduation in Pitch Perfect 2, an unnecessary but fun and deeply satisfying sequel. 
As you might vaguely recall from the opening of the first movie, most of the Bellas left the group after its leader, Aubrey (Anna Camp), blew chunks during a performance. So the new gang, led by Beca (Anna Kendrick), were all freshmen and now they are all seniors, including Chloe (Brittany Snow), who was Aubrey’s co-captain type and purposefully failed a class three times in a row to stay in college and stay a Bella. 
As the movie opens, the Bellas are on their victory tour after three years of championships, which includes a performance for President Obama’s birthday. Their performance, full of possibly over-the-top choreography, comes to an end when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has a “down under” exposing wardrobe malfunction during “Wrecking Ball.” As a result of the ensuing national media coverage — much of which is shocked to find that competitive collegiate a capella is, in fact, a thing — the Bellas are suspended and forbidden to audition new members. Their only chance at the group’s existence beyond the current school year is if they win the world championship scheduled for shortly after graduation.
Though it’s a long shot, the group, driven by the obsessive Chloe, decides to go for it and even has one new freshman member, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), who is a legacy and therefore allowed in through a loophole. Meanwhile, though, other members are considering life after college and the Bellas. Beca, always dreaming of being a music producer, has an internship at a record label. She keeps this information from the rest of the group — though not from Jesse (Skylar Astin), her love interest from the first movie and still her steady — afraid that they will find her disloyal. There are other love stories — Fat Amy and Bumper (Adam DeVine), Emily and Benji (Ben Platt) — and there is a villain in the form of the German team that the Bellas will ultimately have to face at the worlds. Das Sound Machine, who all look like back-up dancers from the “Sprockets” sketches on Saturday Night Live, have militaristically choreographed, bombastic performances that Chloe and the other Bellas don’t think they’ll be able to match.
Love stories, Beca’s professional woes (she becomes afraid that maybe all she has are mash-ups, no individual voice), Emily’s desire to fit in and be recognized for her own merits (not just as a legacy) — I’ll be honest, none of these stories needs to be told. There wasn’t some great narrative question left over from the last movie that this movie answers. While the last movie had a very traditional dance/cheerleader/sports movie formula, this movie takes one step to the side, focusing more on absurdity and goofiness. And, as much as I never thought “what Pitch Perfect could have used is more of a  Loony Tunes vibe,” I’m kind of OK with it. (I saw some interview about the film where somebody said the movie’s director, Elizabeth Banks — who also reprises her role as the a capella announcer — wanted more physical comedy in the film. Uhm, mission accomplished? But why?) Compared to the first movie, this has more of a second-tier feel to it. It’s not a movie I’d watch over and over (as I did with Pitch Perfect when I watched it about half a dozen times around Christmas a few years back) but one I’ll probably watch for a bit when I flip to it on basic cable a year from now. However, I still felt that sense of (pun intended) glee while watching the girls sing 1990s hip-hop or watching one sweetheart woo another with “We Belong.” There is a sweetness about this movie that makes it endearing despite its flaws and a charm in how even its goofier moments play out that makes it fun to spend time with. 
Pitch Perfect 2 might not hang together as one cohesive story quite as well or use its actors with as much precision as the first movie, but it is still a joyful two hours in the theater. B+
Rated PG-13 for innuendo and language. Directed by Elizabeth Banks and written by Kay Cannon (from characters by Mickey Rapkin), Pitch Perfect 2 is an hour and 55 minutes long and distributed by Universal Pictures.  

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