By: Addison Wylie
This isn’t the case with most sequels, but Pitch Perfect 2 is bigger in every way, and therefore better in every way. And, no, that isn’t a playful jab at Rebel Wilson and her Fat Amy character.
This is a series that needs to rise to the occasion and use all the space around it in order to feel worthy. The film needs to break out of a boxed-in format and use every exceptional element it has in its holster. I felt Pitch Perfect’s predecessor wasn’t able to do this, even though the first film had great acapella covers and mash-ups. The problem was concerning the story around the tunes. Its typical underdog story, predictable romance, and staggeringly lazy gross-out humour wasn’t enough to give the film the proper kick-in-the-pants that it so desperately needed. It was nothing more than a Glee wannabe.
Fans of the first will probably point a finger at Pitch Perfect 2 and claim the film is suffering from “sequelitis” – it repeats the essentials hardcores are expecting. However, speaking as someone who thought the predecessor was mediocre at best, I see impressive growth in the series.
Actress Elizabeth Banks takes over the role of director from Avenue Q’s Jason Moore, proving that the filmmakers involved with the infamous anthology flick Movie 43 do, indeed, receive second chances. Banks, who directed Movie 43’s segment which used menstrual blood as a comedic prop, redeems herself with this spirited sequel that follows the Barden Bellas as they try to redeem a professional reputation after embarrassing exposure on a national stage. I was rooting for the Bellas, but I praised the removal of lame vomit gags and other miscellaneous crudities – Banks means business.
Pitch Perfect 2 gives audiences polished tracks with wicked vocals, including more snazzy mix-ups of popular songs and throwback segments that will have viewers thrilled. I also can’t forget that surreal duet between bright-eyed Anna Kendrick and Snoop Dogg. It had me smiling, but the pairing also had me reliving that Daily Show interview where Jon Stewart inquisitively asked the controversial rapper if he remembered a time when white people were scared of him.
Aside from the songs and the charismatic cast, Pitch Perfect 2 trumps its former film by being more visually spectacular through competing presentations. The navigation around large venues and the swift cinematography keep the energy pulsing. For a budding filmmaker and a returning co-star, Elizabeth Banks isn’t afraid to spin her fair share of plates – making her a great host to this party.
In terms of story, returning screenwriter Kay Cannon (30 Rock) gives audiences another traditional underdog struggle. However, with a cast who knows how to collect the best reactions out of movie goers, Pitch Perfect 2 is able to stay fresh. Occasionally, the movie pauses for extra musical numbers and additional foolishness (a significant portion of the film has the girls attending a retreat to improve their teamwork and technique, which triggers memories of when the Spice Girls did something like this in Spice World), but these bits don’t necessarily weigh this fluffy flick down. They’re actually a lot of fun.
The movie started to play, play, play.
I was prepared to hate, hate, hate.
But, the effervescent peppy Pitch Perfect 2 got me to shake, shake, shake, shake,
shake off that chip on my shoulder.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie