Title: Pitch Perfect 2
Release Date: 2015
Director: Elizabeth Banks
There’s always some chanciness around sequels to a cult classic movie. This one takes the Rocky III approach, with the Barden Bellas succeeding for several years but failing as success gets to their heads, facing the taunts of new rivals, and having to regain their way. In this case the Bellas are embroiled in scandal due to a wardrobe malfunction at a performance before the President, plus the realization that with graduation looming there is life beyond college and a capella. The Clubber Lang of the movie is the German supergroup Das Sound Machine whom the Bellas must defeat in the totally made-up World Championship of A Capella to be reinstated in collegiate a capella.
The movie is kind of a patchwork quilt of set pieces, subplots, and music performances, but it makes an entertaining whole. The funny bits actually are funnier than the original movie, although the musical performances that made the first movie so brilliant aren’t as strong here. I think that’s partially because the plot has most of the performances take place when the Bellas “have lost their voice” and are trying glam things up too much with spectacle.
Hailee Steinfield is a good addition as a Freshman legacy who joins the Bellas and Keegan-Michael Key is funny as Beca’s arrogant boss at a production studio. On the downside, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks’ bits as a capella commentators are even less necessary and less funny than in the first movie, and the new character played by Chrissie Fit is just an endless series of bad Latin American immigrant jokes. The only advantage here is that there’s less time for stereotypical Asian jokes about Lilly.
On the whole, it’s a fun movie. Like Return of the Jedi, I’ve reached the point where I care enough about these characters to overlook some of the movie’s shortcomings.