It has been 3 years since the Barden Bella’s won their first National Collegiate A Capella title and they’ve been defending that title ever since. Led by Becca (Anna Kendrick) and Chloe (Brittany Snow), the Bellas performed for the President’s birthday, where Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) suffers a wardrobe malfunction which finds the Bella’s suspended from competing at internationals and holding auditions. Things do get a bit brighter when the Bellas add Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) and learn they can compete at the World Championships. As good as that news is, they’re still going to need to beat Das Sound Machine, a German A Capella super-group who stands in their way.
Pitch Perfect 2 fully embraces the role a sequel and has the Bellas doing much of the same things as they did in the first film, which is not an issue at all. If you’re like me and enjoyed the first film, you’re absolutely going to enjoy this followup to the 2012 smash hit. The A Capella spirit is alive and well and the silliness that comes along with it will have you rolling with laughter. While this sequel doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does do a very great job of bringing new comedy and music to the screen under the direction of one of it’s best stars.
Elizabeth Banks played one of the two hilarious A Capella announcers in the first film and this time around she’s not only respiring her role, but is stepping into the director’s shoes. For her directorial debut, Banks goes big and has a great deal of fun introducing the audience to new A Capella rivals and challenges. She shot in some amazing locations and her camera work really heightens the performances we watch. As expected, she’s also one of the best parts of the film, as she and John Michael Higgins send the audience into an uproar with their commentary.
It’s no secret that I have a slight affinity for Anna Kendrick, but who can blame me? She’s undoubtedly one of the least “Hollywood” type actresses in the business and her angelic voice and sarcastic attitude help carry this film. She gets a side storyline based around her wanting to produce music (which includes Keegan Michael Key and Snoop Dogg) and her character finds more depth than ever before. Her boyfriend, Jesse (Skylar Astin) of the Treblemakers, is there to support her endeavors and their brief moments together make a lasting impression. Who can also forget the sexual tension building between her and Snow, who’s control freak character finds herself unable to move on. Kendrick also gets to work closely with Steinfeld, who’s awkwardly cute character shines brightly with her beautiful voice.
The greatest addition to this film comes in the form of Flula Borg and Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, the German leaders of Das Sound Machine. From their introduction at an auto show performing Muse‘s ‘Uprising’, the audience knew they were in for something special. Borg and Sorensen’s cold, German humor is a great counterbalance to the Bellas and there are some great jokes regarding Kendrick’s questionable attraction to Sorenesen. The arrangements they perform are something to marvel at, as they defy all your A Capella expectations. Much like the first film, there’s also an amazing Riff Off which introduces the hilarious David Cross and Green Bay Packers into the A Capella world. In short, there’s an almost overwhelming amount of talent in this film that is sure to be more than enough for audiences.
As is traditional with most comedy sequels, it’s very hard to live up to the predecessor, especially in the case of this film. The first Pitch Perfect took the world by surprise and made A Capella something that was actually cool. So cool, that I even contemplated joining the men’s A Capella group at my school. The progression of the story is pretty similar to the first. The Bellas fall from grace and must redeem themselves by proving that they can defeat the reigning champions. There’s not too much that’s new, but there didn’t necessarily have to be for this film to work so well. Audiences of all types can come and enjoy the “oral magic” that these diverse groups create.
Pitch Perfect 2 is such a fun time that I wound up seeing it twice in the span of a few days. It was enough fun for me to pay for a ticket (such a snobby film critic comment, but I hope you get my point) to go see it with friends who appreciate comedy and singing and the crowds absolutely loved it too. While it may not reach the heights of the first film, Elizabeth Banks does a stellar job as a first time director and Kay Cannon‘s script is absolutely hilarious! If you were hoping to see a bit more of Bumper (Adam DeVine), you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised. Flock to go see these awesome women do what they do best!
Pitch Perfect 2 Trailer