Pitch Perfect 2: Review

Pitch Perfect, Holly Wade, Kettle Mag
Written by Holly Wade

It’s been three years since the release of Pitch Perfect and now Fat Amy and the Bellas are back.

Influenced by hit US TV show Glee and loosely adapted from Mickey Rapkin’s non-fiction book of the same name, Pitch Perfect 2 follows the journey of a group of college girls who aim to take a cappella glory.

If you haven’t seen the first one yet then you really need to hurry up and watch it. As the sequel begins it has been three years since the Bellas took the American a cappella crown, and all of them are now entering their final year of college and facing the end of competition.

The opening scene depicts the girls on top, performing in front of US President Barack Obama when disaster strikeS, Amy (Rebel Wilson) accidentally bearing all to the public. Before long videos and images of the incident are plastered across the news, leading to the Bellas being suspended from the next championships, disgracing their good name.

Having failed her studies numerously over the years to stay with the Bellas, obsessive Chloe (Brittany Snow) refuses to give up without a fight, realising that competition rules make the girls eligible to enter the World Championships, held every four years.

With graduation drawing ever nearer Beca (Anna Kendrick) has turned away from the girls to focus on career options, her heart still set on becoming a music producer. She is gifted an internship at a local recording studio and neglects the Bellas as she tries to impress her new boss.

Typical in any teen comedy film, tension and anxiety then tear through the group, threatening to split the Bellas up as they prepare for what will be their final performance at the Worlds, hoping to at least preserve what is left of the Barden legacy. Help comes in the form of newbie Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) who has always dreamed of being a Bella.

Emily provides a cutesie love interest to adorable Treblemaker Benji (Ben Platt) who takes more of a centre stage role within the group, though overall the Treblemakers have little to say this time around with Beca’s boyfriend Jesse (Skylar Astin) given a much smaller role. Bumper (Adam DeVine) is back as Fat Amy’s love interest having now finished his job working for John Mayer.

The film certainly lives up to its prequel in terms of the comedy elements, stand out moments coming yet again from podcasters John and Gail (John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks, the latter also directing the film). John is as misogynistic as ever and much of his dialogue leaves a slightly sour taste in the mouth but he is balanced out well by co-host Gail who doesn’t take any of his rubbish.

It wouldn’t be a proper championship movie without some rivals and this time around the Bellas take on Das Sound Machine, a polished German group who are also vying for the title. DSM are a great a cappella group but at times they are rendered awkward as they sing only aggressive Muse and Fall Out Boy songs in strange and overt German accents.

The film has been criticised for its repeated jokes over ‘fat’ Amy and also how its minority characters always seem to be in the background. It’s difficult to tell whether this is an intentional poke at film stereotyping as Pitch Perfect 2 does use this as the butt of most jokes. Gay character Cynthia-Rose criticises new character Flo about a mistake made in a recent performance and Latina Flo responds ‘Oh sure, blame the minority’, Cynthia retorting ‘I’m black, gay and a woman!’

Pitch Perfect 2 is laugh out loud at times but it also doesn’t ease away from cheese and sentimentality, pulling on the heartstrings as the Bella’s try to regain their sound at a retreat, having realised that their college experience is coming to an end and that their lives will never be the same again. For the soppy types it might even make you a teeny bit emotional and nostalgic.

Though at times the comedic elements can be a little stilted and awkward Pitch Perfect 2 is fun, the perfect feel good film for a Friday night with the girls. A la Pitch Perfect its sequel leaves the door open for another film and though part of me is intrigued as to what happens next it’s probably best for this one to quit whilst it’s still so aca-awesome.