Friday, 8 May 2015

Film Review: Pitch Perfect 2



The Barden Bellas are back in Pitch Perfect 2, the a cappella teen franchise that stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow and Skylar Astin.

This time around the gang are facing challenges such as life after college, dating and heading to the a cappella World Championships.

The original Pitch Perfect was a bolt from the blue back in 2012 - what first looked like any other teen comedy was soon everywhere thanks to a hip cast and a catchy soundtrack dominating the iTunes charts.

The combination of girl-next-door Anna Kendrick, comic loudmouth Rebel Wilson and the dashing gentleman Skylar Astin had audiences reaching for their red cups and humming (or at least, trying to hum) their scales for months it left cinemas. Remember how big that 'Cups' song was on YouTube? Ah, 2012 - a simpler time.

No surprise then that a sequel was fast-tracked with a formula that keeps the series feeling familiar. But does it do fresh and different than the first? In fact, Pitch Perfect 2 sees the characters fill out and grow in ways that make this entry funnier, sillier and even better.

Anna Kendrick is as cute and adorable as ever, but it's Rebel Wilson who makes the largest impression on proceedings. It's not an understatement when I say that Wilson will have you clutching your sides in every scene she's in - it's just something about her mannerisms and commitment to the character (rounded out with subtle inflections and details) that make each one-liner a winner.

Brittany Snow gets a little bit more to do this time around as Chloe and slots into the 'obsessive, committed' character role vacated by Anna Camp's Aubrey (who shows up for a brief cameo in one of the film's most memorable sequences).

Snow and Kendrick's characters are pulling in different directions, and this is where the group fall into conflict. Chloe can't envision life outside of the Barden Bellas whilst Beca is looking beyond college and getting her shit together through a high-pressure internship.

My main issue with the film is how some of the other Bellas are depicted - for example, Ester Dean is just one long running joke about being a lesbian and I'm pretty sure two of the others could disappear into the background and no-one would be that fussed. The trio of guys (Skylar Astin, Ben Platt and Adam DeVine) aren't given as much to work with this time around, but that's not a criticism. This series has always been about the girls and it was nice to see that director Elizabeth Banks didn't split the focus too much.

This second film does feel bigger, bolder and cheekier. It sees the series take on really cartoonish characters like Keegan Michael-Key's record producer without feeling out of place or silly. There are even a raft of hilarious cameos that include people like Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Kimmel and Barack Obama (well, sorta).

The soundtrack, that includes songs by artists such as Taylor Swift, A Tribe Called Quest, Muse and Destiny's Child, is another fantastic collection that sees the music sequences flow really nicely. Plus, there are a couple of new original tracks (including 'Flashlight' by Jessie J) that will no doubt rocket up the charts. There's rarely a dull moment as Elizabeth Banks' direction keeps the energy high throughout - my personal highlight was the four-way underground sing-off.

Amongst the laughter and singing it’s easy to forget what a rarity Pitch Perfect 2 is – not only is it a sequel that markedly improves on the original but, beneath the sequins and the strobe lights, it’s also a mainstream film about a group of talented, educated, ambitious, ethnically diverse young women who pursue a passion, providing a positive and promising message that will hopefully resonate with young female audiences far and wide.

If that's not something to make a song and dance about, I don't know what is.

The Verdict: 8/10


Funnier, sassier and sillier, Pitch Perfect 2 improves upon the original by upping the stakes, moving the characters forward and firmly sticking to its core, diverse young female cast. Kendrick and Wilson steal the show but new characters from Hailee Steinfeld and Keegan Michael-Key keep this entry feeling fresh and fun.

Pitch Perfect 2 is in cinemas across Australia now. Read more of my movie reviews right here or over at Hooked on Film

6 comments:

  1. It's not a surprise that I'm super excited about Pitch Perfect 2, and your review has made me even more excited now! Still a week to go till it's in our cinemas :)
    - Allie

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    1. Get hyped, because it is awesome! :) I look forward to hearing what you ladies think!

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  2. This sounds as fun as the first one, hopefully I get to watch it in the cinema. Great review!

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    1. Thanks! I look forward to hearing your thoughts :)

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  3. The singing is great, lots of energy. But the plot is small.

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    1. True, it did zig-zag a little in the middle. Still, I liked it :) Thanks for commenting!

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