Disclaimer: This review may be more recap than critical essay. The following may contain spoilers. Or maybe not. It is quite possible I misremembered key plot points. I have only seen the film once, on a small airplane screen at 35,000 feet, sleep-deprived and under the influence of any number of legal substances. Everyone’s a critic. But inflight entertainment is a safe space where the options are nonthreatening and your expectations low. Skip or screen, the choice is yours.
Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Writer: Kay Cannon
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson
Runtime: 115 minutes
My Ambien-aided/inhibited analysis:
More like pitch far from perfect, am I right? Cutesiness aside, do not waste your time (even unproductive travel time) with this uninteresting and unimaginative remix of the fun and smart original. Seriously, a nap would be more worthwhile. And I am speaking as someone who very much enjoyed the first film. This much-hyped sequel samples the same rhythms and beats as its delightful predecessor, but cannot find the same hook, humor and edge. The charm of Pitch Perfect was the specificity of the world created within a small, fictional liberal arts college. That, and the wordplay! Anna Kendrick’s cooly disengaged Becca, an aspiring music producer with no interest in a cappella, was our point of entry. Together, introductions, and ultimately real connections, with this unique world of riff off battles and precisely choreographed competition routines was made.
It’s been a couple years since we last saw the Barden Bellas, and their world has grown considerably. Fresh off their latest championship victory, performing for the President, Rebel Wilson suffers a wardrobe malfunction and is unintentionally stripped of her pants. In the fallout, the Bellas are stripped of their championship title and a cappella accreditation. With several Bellas now paired off with Treble Tones (the university’s male a cappella troupe and their former rivals), the stage is set for a bigger, better competitor to stand in the way of redemption. As sequels are wont to do, the stage is bigger and the stakes higher. To rehabilitate their image, the Bellas find themselves entering an upcoming competition featuring teams from all over the world. Their main rival is a troupe of robotic Eastern Europeans with bodies as sick as their burns.
The elevated stakes do little to elevate the plot or character development. With so many recurring characters, and some new additions, all are under-served by the story. Hailee Steinfeld (proven actress and singer) joins the cast as the newest Bella, but does not really get a chance to shine. Watch The Edge of Seventeen for that! In the world of Glee’s vintage standards and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s highly original songs, you can go ahead a hit skip on Pitch Perfect 2.