Review: Pitch Perfect 2 Isn’t As Good As The Original But Still Worth Seeing
Title: Pitch Perfect 2
Director Elizabeth Banks
Screenwriter: Kay Cannon (written by) and Mickey Rapkin
Principal Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, and Adam DeVine
Summary: After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform.
When Pitch Perfect came out in 2012 no one was expecting it to do well. It was a small movie about a college acappella group as they try to win the Nationals. Sometimes, however, lightning strikes and something that shouldn’t work does beautifully. Pitch Perfect had great music, excellent comedy and was generally a lot more endearing than anyone thought it was going to be. When it made over 96 million over budget at the box office alone and became something of a cult classic, it was pretty clear they would make a sequel. Could they make lightning strike twice, though?
Pitch Perfect 2 doesn’t quite live up to the first one in terms of song quality and writing, but there wasn’t really a way to top the first one since it was a novelty at the time.
This is one of the problems with the movies that turn into accidental hits with a unique concept; you have to try twice as hard with the sequel. I’m not saying by any stretch that Pitch Perfect 2 is bad, it’s just that the novelty has worn off and it doesn’t feel as good as the first one. As the final musical number happened I didn’t feel that stupid grin that I had on my face the first time I saw the final number in the first one. It’s very well done and a little more bittersweet, while the first movie was all about beginnings and bringing the girls together as a group. When we pick up with them in the second movie they are three time national champions. This movie is more about goodbyes and how, now that the Bella’s are seniors, they aren’t going to be in each others lives anymore. So while the final number in the first movie was happy, this one was much more melancholy.
That’s not to say that the movie isn’t really funny. John Michael Higgins as John and Elizabeth Banks as Gail are back as the podcast duo, and they get some of the best one liners in the movie. Higgins gets to make so many insensitive jokes that I was waiting for Bank’s to slap him. Rebel Wilson is back as Fat Amy and I like the fact that she is literally the only one who makes fat jokes. She is also one of the two romantic subplots and it was the one that felt the most real of the two. Brittany Snow is Chloe and has taken the reigns from Anna Camp as Aubrey as the one whose entire life seems to revolve around the group and the movie is worse for it. Camp does eventually turn up and she’s funny when she does, but it’s more of a glorified cameo than anything. Beca’s (Anna Kendrick) subplot about finding her voice is something I can personally relate to as an artist, and her cliched relationship with Jesse (Skylar Astin) is barely background noise which is nice. It’s not often we see a couple in movies that last and seem to be doing well.
If there is one thing that did annoy me a little it was Hailee Steinfeld as the new girl, Emily. She has a romantic subplot that didn’t do much for me and I wasn’t too impressed with her voice. It felt like the movie wanted us to like her right away and I wasn’t feeling it. The newcomer that I did like was Flo (Chrissie Fit) who just kept making the most amazing observations about life in the Americas as she was a foreign exchange student, so it’s not like the movie couldn’t make new characters I liked. For some reason Emily was not one of them. As I said the music this time wasn’t as good as the first time around because we’ve heard all of this before. The first one was a lot of people’s first exposure to a cappella, and the movie needed to step it up for the sequel and I feel like they didn’t. Elizabeth Banks also moved from producer to director, and while she’s okay she still has work to do before she’s really good.
Pitch Perfect 2 is a very good musical comedy that once again showcases the unique style of music that is a cappella. While it wasn’t quite as good as the first one I do believe it’s worth seeking out. If you liked the first one you’ll like this one. If you aren’t sure whether this is your type of movie give the first one a watch and then look into this one.