Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

 After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden
Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has
ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform.

Pitch Perfect 2
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
Starring Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin

Great fun to watch for just about everyone, but especially those fans of
Glee and High School Musical. I am a cynical old bugger and not the
target demographic for this at all, but even I couldn’t help but be
upbeat by the end of the film. Recommended for a wide audience, but
don’t expect either great acting or impressive film-making. This is
pretty much what you’d expect; frothy, infectious, throwaway laughs and
catchy tunes to boot.

The above paragraph was the conclusion of my own review for the original Pitch Perfect when I first saw it back in December 2012. Now here we are, a few short years later, wondering just what has changed? Well, original director Jason Moore (now an Executive Producer, no less) has been replaced by Elizabeth Banks for starters, who also revives her caustic commentator Gail. There is the addition of Hailee Steinfeld, a new Bella legacy member (did we really need any new additions?), but aside from this and a few more minor cast changes, this is almost exactly the same thing as we were offered before.

Which in itself is no bad thing. The first time around, Pitch Perfect was a delightful, albeit very surprising, breakout hit both with critics and audiences alike. How far we should allow that goodwill to extend is questionable, however, and we might rightly ask what the point of making this is, instead of just adding another ninety minutes of previously unseen footage onto the original dvd release for real fans.

You don’t really need to know much about the plot, save for saying that the all-girl acapella group from the first movie are back again, having had an unfortunate incident where Fat Amy exposed herself to the President live on TV and have now come to the understanding that if they don’t win the world acapella championships, thereby improving their now crushed reputation and standing, they might as well just pack up their troubles and forget ever warbling another tune ever again. Oh really? Now wouldn’t that be terrible. For shame!

Two points. Firstly, this is not a patch on the original and secondly, yet on it’s own, it’s quite acceptable. Yet because the original exists, this just feels entirely superfluous on so many levels. It does, if anything, go to show that Rebel Wilson is probably not funny after all and really only just got lucky at roughly the same a real fat funny female sister (Melissa McCarthy) was doing it for herself.
As novelty value, maybe there is some reason for her presence, but really the film would do as well, if not better, without her.

For lovers of a catchy tune, this is as good as you’re likely to get for at least a while, but make no mistake, this is not in the same league as the original in this department either. So, without too many good reasons to bother and more than one not to, why take the trouble? Well, Pitch Perfect 2 is still infectious and fun. When the songs do come, they are worth sitting through the stilted script on a couple of occasions, at least, with all of the ebullience of the first episode. It’s not quite Bring It On this time, which I was maybe a bit disappointed by, but on reflection, this cast really couldn’t have got away with it. The fact that we are supposed to believe that they are all still at college was laughable the first time around, and much less so on this visit.

As an admirer, if not a devotee, of the first in the series, this is worth the time taken to see it, but don’t set your bar too high as you will be disappointed if you do.

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