Pitch Perfect 2
dir. Elizabeth Banks
written by: Kay Cannon
starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins
2.75 out of 4 stars
The Barton Bellas are back with a bombastic barrage of beautiful bellows! Isn’t alliteration a wonderful device? The sequel to the 2012 surprise hit reunites us with Beca and Fat Amy and many of the other original Bellas in the senior year coming off of multiple national titles to perform the most absurd, over-the-top musical sequences this side of Bob Fosse’s nightmares. An unfortunate aerial crotch shot in front of the Obamas, one of the best uses of stock footage imaginable, leads to their disqualification from the A Cappella champion’s prestigious tours. Their new rivals, the world champion German team, makes lives hell, and the Bellas are out unless they can defeat them in Aca-battle to win the world!!!
Clearly, the plot wasn’t hard to derive, and I can tell you, it pretty much proceeds exactly how you’d expect. The laughs along the way make it worth it though. Back again with feisty leadership is Beca, an always smart and sexy Anna Kendrick singing her mash-ups that made the first movie a theater geek’s favorite. Beca steps into the world of music production with the always hilarious Keegan-Michael Key as her sharply critical boss. Hailee Steinfeld, the only new Bella thanks to her character’s Legacy status, finds a footing in a sweet, goofy songwriter trying to follow in her mother’s glorious college experiences. Katey Sagal plays her mother and of course steals every scene she’s in.
Rebel Wilson continues to be the laugh riot, never letting a joke falter, passing her “ass confidence” effortlessly. Her timing in solo “We Belong” left the audience rolling; her presence on screen, fidgetting or crude or whatever she does, is naturally humorous. Her unabashed comedy is all hers. Director Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are the voice of Acapella with brilliant comedic chemistry.
I’m glad to say the film exceeded my expectations. It’s rare a movie makes me laugh as consistently as PP2, and where the plot has little in the line of substance, I wanted to watch it again right after seeing it, ready to laugh all over again. This is the kind of popcorn movie I would love to see more of, but with the lack of explosions, I’m still going to be stuck with plenty of weekends where San Andreas and other drivel torture the nation’s projectors. The film’s box office success is a perfect example of the power of female driven storylines in a male dominated industry. The upcoming Spy with Melissa McCarthy will surely be another hit, already garnering excellent advanced reviews. Year by year, hopefully Hollywood will be directed to make more movies for me.