Film Review – Pitch Perfect 2

 

 

 

 

 

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Pitch Perfect 2.

This film is the sum total of everything that can suck about a sequel.

A thin storyline, actors who wish they weren’t there, clumsy direction and a myriad of other technical issues that hamper what might have been a triumphant return of the Barden Bellas.

A surprise hit in 2012, Pitch Perfect told the unlikely story of the Barden Bellas,  an all-girl collegiate a capella troupe who overcome the odds when they take on the reigning male champions in their campus competition.

That first film was based on a book by Mickey Rapkin (a senior editor at GQ magazine) with a screenplay by Kay Cannon who returns on her lonesome this time to write the whole thing.

In this lightweight second film, the students still haven’t graduated college, and, following an international incident where Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) moons President Obama, the group are banned from representing the country again. Without much effort they find a (convenient-for-the-film’s-plot) loophole that there’s nothing in the rules that prevents them from competing in the World Championships in Copenhagen, where they are set to take on their replacements who quite inexplicably, are a German outfit – Das Sound Machine.

While the first film felt like an unlikely premise, it was based on true accounts, but on this “difficult second effort” when they deliver a formula that is more of the same, unfortunately the audience gets less of the same. Less heart and soul, no surprises, and shitty song choices.

There’s a lazy cash grab here that throws up obstacle after obstacle to prevent what could have been an enjoyable enough sequel.

Directed by Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games), whose character Gail – one half of the sharp tongued commentating duo (joining John Michael Higgins as John Smith) – delivers a healthy dose of the many gags on the film, but unfortunately her inexperience helming a motion picture is evident here as so many of the gags fall flat, almost as if they were improvised and then left in the film as padding to a sketchy storyline.

Whereas 22 Jump St was also unashamedly an exercise in repeating a successful formula, that film had enormous smarts from a directing partnership of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, a team of writers, and also the chemistry between leads Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill that made it easy to forgive it’s sins.

Unfortunately in Pitch Perfect 2 with it’s sprawling chiefly token cast, amateurish direction, underdeveloped story and second rate musical numbers, it feels like a case of “let’s shoot it and see what happens”, with no quality control. It’s that kind of attitude that helped get us to a place where nobody buys albums anymore.

There’s too much filler, not enough killer.

2 Stars.

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