As I’ve said, time and time again… every film does not need a sequel. History has told us that it is hard to catch lightning in a bottle twice. We didn’t need Men in Black II, Ocean’s Twelve, The Hangover II, and three more Pirates of the Caribbean movies. So why mess with a good thing? The simple reason is because studios know audiences will flock in hopes that the magic can be recaptured. And every so often they’re right. So once again, here we are. With another sequel to a movie that wasn’t supposed to be a hit (2012’s Pitch Perfect), with our fingers crossed that it will be as good as the original… or at least not a bomb.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks (who also reprises her role as commentator along with John Michael Higgins), Pitch Perfect 2 reunites the Championship A Capella singing group, the Barden University Bellas; led by aspiring music producer Beca (Anna Kendrick), overly obsessed 7th year senior, Chloe (Brittany Snow), and comic relief “Fat” Amy (Rebel Wilson). The group also welcomes newcomers; Flo (Chrissie Fit), a Guatemalan girl with a knack for bringing up her horrendous, yet humorous past, and Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), a freshman who’s dreamed of being a Bella like her mother once was. After a botched performance that leads to the group’s suspension, the Bellas have no chance but to win the A Capella world championships to be reinstated while also trying to focus on the more important issue of life after graduation.
The biggest problem with sequels is that there is big pressure to create a story that manages to recapture what audiences loved about the original, while also managing to create a new challenge so we don’t feel like we’re watching the same thing we’ve already seen. While Pitch Perfect 2 flounders around with a narrative that is all over the place with love stories and subplots, it at least manages to create a story with interesting conflict. The German team, known as Das Sound Machine, is a worthy and comedic adversary and even though the story seems chaotic at times, often delving into the realm of irrelevance, it manages to keep the audience entertained with decent comedic timing and good music. An underground A Capella battle featuring tons of cameos, such as the Green Bay Packers (yes, the Green Bay Packers), is the epitome of this. It’s virtually unnecessary, yet probably the best part of the movie.
I’ll admit that at the start of this movie, when the jokes were falling flat, it started to feel like my fears were going to be realized, and Pitch Perfect 2 was going to be flamboyantly hokey. But once things got going, I laughed, I enjoyed the music, and I left with the same feeling of pleasant surprise that I felt after watching the first movie. If you hate the original, you’ll hate this one, but if you loved or just liked Pitch Perfect, then you’ll have the same sentiments towards this one. But, don’t push your luck with a Pitch Perfect 3!!!
FINAL GRADE: B