When I saw Pitch Perfect, I remember coming out a bit bewildered and not really knowing what to think. It was a very hit-or-miss movie, you see. But ultimately, a few months and then years of contemplation and nostalgia goggles swayed me in its favor, and I found myself excited when word of a sequel came around. When I watched the first again in preparation for this new one, there were a few deep flaws that stuck out to me, but it was still a fairly enjoyable movie.
This one was pretty much the same. Overall, I think it was a bit better, but it definitely has a lot of the same pitfalls that the original suffered from: tasteless humor, homophobia, transphobia, racial stereotypes, etc. This one actually had less plot than the original, but I think it works to the film’s advantage as you can devote more of your interest to the characters and the set pieces.
While the first movie makes the college a capella scene out to be more than what it is, Pitch Perfect 2 is even more idealized, in the form of a Coachella-esque World A Capella Championship (A Coachella, if you will) where all but two groups perform “Any Way You Want It” and flashlights are mandatory. Here, we see John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks follow the Barden Bellas across the globe, despite their apparent hatred of them, and host a podcast about a capella tournaments that is apparently popular enough to broadcast live from the Kennedy Center, where the Bellas are famous enough to perform for Barack Obama’s birthday. Barack and Michelle (Bichelle) make a cameo in the film through a single ten-second stationary shot.
Truth be told, the highlight of the movie is its cameos. Some people find cameos to be a cheap gimmick, and it definitely is, but they’re surprisingly fresh in this movie. We see one of the film’s main villains played by internet funnyman Flula Borg; Anna Kendrick scores a job working for Keegan Michael Key and producing an album for Snoop Dogg; an underground “riff-off” is hosted by David Cross and features John Hodgman, Reggie Watts, Joe Lo Truglio, Jason Jones, and the Green Bay Packers; Pentatonix and the judges from The Voice appear in the film’s climax. But these aren’t just miscellaneous appearances. Most of the people listed really give it their all and make their presence known, I feel. Except the Voice judges. But eh.
The focus of the movie shifts away from Becca, played by the impeccable Anna Kendrick, and more towards a newer character named Emily Junk, played by the impeccable Hailee Steinfeld. I don’t know if her character made a valuable addition to the film, though she introduced a new-ish character arc and helped wrap up Becca’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if a threequel was on its way, especially since this one’s already eclipsed School of Rock as the highest-grossing musical comedy of all time, but at the same time, I feel like this movie ended on a satisfying note. Not perfect, but good enough.
Overall, I’d give it a solid B. Thoroughly enjoyable if you’re not thinking about it too hard. Like this post if you liked it, comment if you’ve got something to say, follow the blog if you like it like it, you can also follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, be on the lookout for reviews of Spy, Entourage, and perhaps Jurassic World, as well as an article about the history of orange/blue contrast.