Photo: Universal Pictures
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld,Adam Devine, Elizabeth Banks, Ester Dean, Chrissie Fit, Hana Mae Lee, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt
Release Date: May 15th, 2015
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Rated PG-13 for crude language and some innuendo
“Pitch Perfect 2” opens with the 3-Time Collegiate Acapella champions, the Barden Bellas, embroiled in a scandal. After a disastrous performance at Lincoln Center (which included Fat Amy [Wilson] unintentionally flashing her crotch), the Bellas are banned from competing, as well as holding auditions for new singers. Since most of the Bellas are graduating seniors, this is a crushing blow, especially for Chloe (Snow), who has been a Bella for seven years. All is not yet lost, however; they immediately decide to compete in an international acapella competition, in the hopes of being reinstated and restoring themselves to glory. No American team has ever won (“The whole world hates us!”crows acapella boss/podcaster Gail [director and producer Elizabeth Banks]). The Barden Bellas must pull out all the stops in order to defeat their competition, German group Das Sound Machine.
Meanwhile, group leader Beca (Kendrick) has landed an internship with a prestigious recording studio Residual Heat. She keeps the internship a secret from the group since she doesn’t want to seem less than 100% committed. Keegan-Michael Key (half of comedic duo Key and Peele) plays her eccentric boss, both mean-spirited but hilarious. Also new this time around is Emily (Steinfeld), who has been eager to be a Bella her whole life since her mother (the multi-talented Katey Sagal) was one when she was at Barden. Emily is clueless about acapella, but she is a budding songwriter with her own original ideas; this becomes an important plot device later on.
If you enjoyed the first installment of “Pitch Perfect” you will definitely enjoy this one, too. The direction is frenetic, the music catchy (trust me, you’ll be singing and tapping your feet), and the jokes are usually on point. Ice queen Kommissar (Birgitte Hort Sørensen) and her equally evil sidekick Pieter Kramer (DJ/Youtuber Flula Borg) of Das Sound Machine take jabs at the Bellas any chance they get, their German accents played up for laughs. Sadly, the non-white Bellas (Dean, Lee and Fit) are given very little to do, except be the butt of stereotypical racial jokes. The romantic subplots involving Bumper/Fat Amy and Emily/Benji feel very contrived and unnecessary. Celebrity cameos abound, and there is another Riff-Off. Steinfeld, 18, also looks like a child compared to her costars, most of whom are close to 30 and playing college seniors. This I found mildly disconcerting. In spite of the flaws, the overall message of sisterhood and finding your own voice remains, and it works, even if it’s been done many times before.
There are rumors of a third “Pitch Perfect”. Personally, I do not think it would be a good film. Ostensibly Steinfield will be the Bella’s next leader, and while she definitely has the acting chops and singing ability, she does not seem ready to lead just yet. Also, the next film would have to be even more in your face and over-the-top, and doing so without resorting to the ridiculous will be tricky, if not impossible. I hope that “2” is the Bellas’ swan song; if so, it’s darn good one.