#REVIEW: “PITCH PERFECT 2”
2012’s PITCH PERFECT just about exceeded all our expectations, quickly becoming a Sleeper Hit that year, before going-on to earn almost seven-fold its budget at the Box Office. We’ve been eager for more from our Heroines, A Capella Sensations the Barden Bellas, and at long last we get our wish in PITCH PERFECT 2 starring, directed and produced by Elizabeth Banks.
The Film picks-up where we left-off last time with Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) effectively getting the Bellas banned from the competitive A Capella Circuit in America after a horrendous wardrobe malfunction. They set their sights high on the World Championships to be held in Copenhagen – a victory never before captured by Americans – but this certainly won’t be an easy task.
Becca (Anna Kendrick) secretly lands an internship at a Recording Studio under a multi-Grammy-winning Boss (Keegan-Michael Key). She aspires to be a Record Producer, hoping to get her Demos heard by him, but soon realizes her own shortcomings. The pressure to succeed has her struggling to divide her attentions between the Bellas and her work, causing a strain among the Group, throwing their balance off-harmony. Also, we meet aspiring Singer-Songwriter Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) who successfully gains acceptance as a new member of the Barden Bellas, but struggles to carve her identity among the tight-knit Clan. All the while, collectively, they must deliver their A-Game in competing against the menacing and polished German A Capella Giants, Das Sound Machine.
Admittedly, this Sequel starts off a bit sluggish, dwelling much on Becca‘s inner struggles and Subplots like Fat Amy‘s uncertain romance with Bumper Allen (Adam DeVine), testing the patience of Franchise Fans who are expecting big musical numbers, spectacle and fun. This is not to say that the Film doesn’t pick-up in a huge way late, but tonally we are at a bit of a loss figuring just quite where we’re heading under Banks’ direction. We’re also a bit baffled how major Characters like Jesse (Skylar Astin) simply are written-off to the sidelines, after being such a huge draw in the Franchise’s first Installment. We love Katey Segal as Emily‘s Barden Bellas Alumni Mom, Katherine, but she too is underwritten, along with Steinfeld‘s Character who appears is being groomed as the Franchise’s next Lead.
The Script certainly is packed with some sharp (and cruel) wit thanks to Kay Cannon, with many of the Characters self-deprecating so that while we might get a laugh in, they get the last laugh on themselves. Wilson excels most of all, drawing the biggest laughs and the same goes for DeVine who gets his chance to shine as Fat Amy‘s perfect counterpart. Musical Direction certainly is on-point once again and we were wowed by the genius Riff Off seen earlier in the Film, ranging from Booty-inspired tunes to ’90s Hip-Hop. The most prominently-featured Song in the Film, a Sia and Sam Smith Collabo called Flashlight, is a bit of an Earworm, which will have you searching on iTunes right away after leaving the theatre.
Franchise Fans will get exactly what they came for in PITCH PERFECT 2, even if it does take a while to get there.
Universal Pictures Canada release PITCH PERFECT 2 in theatres Friday, May 15, 2015.