Pitch Perfect 2 (review)

For those that liked Pitch Perfect, the sequel is sure to please. It is just as funny, irreverent, and like its predecessor quietly disses everything from Glee, to Bring it On.
It also has the good grace to take itself lightly, and bank on what worked last time around.

At times, this can be tedious, especially when supporting characters repeat the same joke several times. The Latina in the Bellas (the acapella group) has six or seven lines and every one of them is an immigrant joke. A chuckle at the first few gives way to a disappointed sigh. Repetition like that is not funny, and immigrant jokes have a short shelf life anyway. Thankfully Rebel Wilson reprises her role as fat Amy, dolling out oddly funny lines every so often. I’m not sure if they are funny on their own merits or just in Rebel’s Australian accent. I suspect a bit of both. Her love interest on screen is Bumper, played by the energetic Adam DeVine, who seems more of Jack Black’s doppelgänger than ever, but who has so much earnest talent I truly cannot fault him. Two Jack Black’s in this world is a marvellous thing.

Anna Kendrick is witty as ever, and her singing is even better than last time. I cannot get over the sharpness of her features, she’s cut like a gemstone and puts in another great performance. Her character is struggling to balance her future ambitions (she wants to be a music producer) with her commitment to the Bellas. An embarrassing accident has led to the group needing to either win the world acapella championship in Copenhagen (which America never has done) or face dissolution. Kendrick’s verbal jousts with the fantastically attractive leaders of the German team are among the funnier moments, as Kendrick never manages to execute and insult because she is so overcome with appreciation for the enemy. “Just because you’re making me very sexually confused doesn’t mean you’re impressive!”

Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit played the new addition to the group, as Emily Junk, a freshman with a passion for song writing. As soon as I recognised her I knew she would handle herself brilliantly, and happily I was right. Steinfeld is an actress with talent leaking from every pore, and she showed her comic timing in scenes where she had to be an awkward and slightly embarrassing newbie, but not so embarrassing that your eyes want to leap from their sockets and roll away.

John Michael Higgins and director Elizabeth Banks play the two acapella commentators, and are generally quite funny, even if the format is somewhat overused at this point in cinematic history. All politically incorrect schmuck commentators owe a debt to Fred Willard and his role in 2000s Best In Show. That is well worth digging out if you can find it.

Pitch Perfect 2 is proving wildly popular if ticket sales are anything to go by. It blitzed the gross of the original film in its first weekend, and has surpassed School of Rock as the highest grossing music comedy film. The critics are rating it at a solid 7/10, which feels about right, but I can’t think of a truly stand out moment. It is just a good time — exactly what it should be.

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