Monday, June 01, 2015

‘Pitch Perfect 2’ Doesn’t Have a Perfect Pitch

This sequel to the hit 2012 musical comedy basically has the same familiar elements of its predecessor: an anime universe*, likable but one-dimensional stereotypical characters, too many  a cappella puns, a cappella battles, and Rebel Wilson’s willingness to make fat jokes at her expense.  However, Pitch Perfect 2 is unable to hit the same high notes as the first one and wobbles in a few off-key parts (narratively speaking, of course).

The movie picks up three years after the events of Pitch Perfect.  Since then, the Barden Bellas are on a roll, having won three straight national championships.  Unfortunately, a scandal involving a screw-up by Fat Amy during a performance for President Obama’s birthday leads to the Bellas being suspended from competing in the collegiate level and stripped of their musical tour.  However, the Bellas are still qualified to compete in the world championship, and is given the opportunity to redeem themselves and be reinstated of their privileges if they win it.  So, the Bellas have to get their act together if they want to become the first American group in history to win the world championship.

Pitch Perfect 2 borrows noticeable plot points from its predecessor and also follows a clichéd plot outline that many other ensemble-in-a-competition – sports, dance, etc. – movies used; these absolutely harmed any attempt of originality.  The musical performances in the first movie are more entertaining in general, but I do like the Bellas’ opening performance here (the one which turned scandalous) over their championship-clinching finale performance in the first movie.  As for the humor, some hit the target, some miss, and some are just automatically cringe-worthy (there are probably a few subtle offensive jokes in there).

Pitch Perfect 2 has its fun moments and Anna Kendrick is a delight, as usual, but it’s objectively not as funny and unexpectedly gratifying as the original.  Nonetheless, it’s not a dull or disastrous film.  Those who liked the first movie will find this sequel pretty much watchable at the very least.

*In an anime series that is centered on a particular fad, sport, interest, competition, or theme, everyone in its world treats the subject as if it’s the biggest deal ever, regardless of its popularity in real life.  The Pitch Perfect universe is the same way with its treatment of a cappella.

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