Late to the Review: Pitch Perfect 2

After much consideration, I’ve decided to come out of the closet………….

…….the musical theater closet.

I’m a huge musical fan; Broadway, film, community theater, etc. You name it and I probably could too! To me, acapella singing falls under that umbrella of influence and when it’s done right there is almost no other better sounding music. I took this same feeling into Pitch Perfect 2 hoping and praying that the music would be amazing and fully expecting my head to ache due to all of the eye-rolling from the story, but it would all be worth it for that big final number ending in a giant collaboration of voices.

Pitch Perfect 2 manages to escape the rule of the sequel to a degree. It manages to actually surpass its predecessor while not detracting from the overall franchise or departing from what makes it work in the first place. But what I’ve just written is not as high of praise as you think it is because I didn’t really love the first. In fact, I almost hated it (except for the music).

Let’s start with the positives…

The music selections and arrangements in Pitch Perfect 2 were exceptional. Not once did they come off cheesy or dull and that is definitely saying something when you can actually make 90s Jamz and Country music come across pleasant to the ears without cringeing. Never have I wanted the villains to have more screen time over the protagonists than in this film simply because they were better at being an acapella group than the supposed “heroes” of this story. As I mentioned earlier, the song selection and arrangements were excellent in this movie and the song that just blew me away the most beccoming my personal favorite was “Promises” by Nero, which took a very drum/bass heavy mix and changed it to an almost slow jam. However, my favorite scene of the entire film, which might I add should’ve been the premise for the sequel, was the underground Acapella Battle. From having the antagonists Das Sound Machine, the musical stylings of Reggie Watts and Jo Lo Truglio, the Green Bay Packers, David Cross’ character and the actual songs, this whole sequence was epic and definitely made the acapella battle from the first film an afterthought.

The second major win for this movie was how extremely funny it could be at times. It avoided what I feared was going to be the downfall of the second installment and that was having Fat Amy takeover almost the entire film. Thankfully, they chose to give her a side story that provided a couple of laughs, but mostly just gave her character something to do that wasn’t surrounding the Bellas. But the Bella that completely stole the movie for me was Lilly (the quiet one). She had maybe four lines the entire film, but I kid you not, all four of them had me covering my mouth in the theater because I was laughing too hard. I promise to watch any sequels that this franchise produces as long as she will be in them (book it). Yes, she was THAT funny to me!

The commentators, played by Elizabeth Banks and John Higgins were my favorite part from the first film and aside from the music were the only things that made the first watchable. They are back with a vengeance in this one and take their jokes to the next level not only with each other, but also towards the performers. They at times get a little cringeworthy, but their chemistry with one another manages to let the jokes land more softly than it would if someone were saying them directly to a person.

The negatives…

  From the very beginning, this film was just messy. At any one time during the movie you had the conflict of being banished from competing except for the World Competition, getting prepared for such an event, trying to find their voice as a group again, Becca’s side story as a music producer, Fat Amy and Bumper’s love story and having a legacy join the Bellas. It’s way too much for this sequel to undertake, but most of it works and did I mention the music? Yeah, the music saves it.

   There is also a horrible build up to the actual World Competition with an even worse payoff at the end. Britney Snow’s character, who had nothing better to talk about, kept going on about how big of an event this was to her, the group and what’s beyond and because of this they were never really ever in danger of actually losing, but you’d think they could at least manage moments where you second guess if they’ll pull it off or not, but they don’t. Worlds was almost a blink and you miss it kind of moment and as I mentioned earlier the underground battle should’ve been the sequel the entire time. Check that, I would taken that or Becca’s struggle to make it in “the biz” as a sequel over their competing at Worlds.

   Still on that subject for a beat longer…the ending to the entire movie felt extremely rushed. For such a prestigious event, they glazed over almost the entire thing only showing you enough to try and grasp a scale of the magnitude but then cutting away to a while after it all took place. I still can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I was actually disappointed by that miscue of plot. Again….the entire thing was messy.

In the end, the pacing/plot/side stories/resolution don’t matter in the least because what does make this movie bearable is the only reason that any of us actually pay to see something like this…….THE MUSIC!

Parting Thoughts:

– I would actually pay for Snoop’s Christmas album

– Dax…go to the corner

– “all of my teeth are from other people”

– Key (from Key and Peele) was amazing

– acapella fight club

– Anna Kendrick was awkward funny

– Fat Amy wasn’t that funny

– I want a supercut of the commentators

– Pitch Perfect 3……Becca is a music producer

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