Film Review: Pitch Perfect 2

So, it’s only been five days since I was first introduced to the world of A Cappella singing, stereotypical university life and Fat Amy. And while I didn’t watch the original movie in isolated preparation for the sequel, having the movie so refresh in my mind has, undoubtedly, shaped my view of it’s encore.

The first thing that that is really noticeable about Pitch Perfect 2 is that is essentially just Pitch Perfect but with a larger budget. There is such a mirroring of the events and structure of the original that honestly, it is bordering on plagiarism. And while that isn’t exactly a bad thing, the first film is to a point, good, it means that you slightly wonder exactly what the film is trying to achieve or how anything is meant to develop. Everything is just choreographed and expected and the story a predictable journey.

Elizabeth Banks & John Michael Higgins - Pitch Perfect 2

With the structure so closely related it means all of the strengths and weaknesses are also back. So to start with, once again there just isn’t really anything truly, or side achingly, funny. It has the drip feed of amusing one liners, just like the original, and once again it’s Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins that steal the show, more enjoyably though the film realises this and gives their comic relationship more time to deliver the insulting, xenophobia, racist, almost distasteful remarks that somehow manage to stay just the right side of acceptable through timing and context. But like I said, it’s just like the original. The jokes are nothing new, there are just more of them.

I detested Rebel Wilson’s character of Fat Amy in the original film, she felt out of place and nasty, but this time around she’s been given a more central role; which could have spelled disaster, but thankfully, the performance is dialled down just enough so while it’s still in your face, it has a more serious and less stupid tone than previously and so seems to work better. She certainly becomes more likeable and acceptable as the film goes on.

Matt Bellamy (Muse) - Pitch Perfect 2

The rest of the cast: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Ester Dean etc. are all back and instantly manage to drop back into the personalities they had before to such an extent that the characters don’t feel like they’ve actually aged, matured or changed in any way. And it is slightly off putting because nothing feels any different. It just adds to this sense that Pitch Perfect 2 has nothing new to say (or sing). Honestly, you can almost tick off the repetitiveness of the two stories. Things might be tweaked to try and pull the wool over your narrative eyes, but it’s the cinematic equivalent of tweaking the gender pronoun in a song and pretending it’s new as a result. The Eminem style hip-hop rap battle is back, but it’s at a packed party rather than a empty swimming pool. The CD stacker at the radio station now makes coffee at a recording studio. Like I said, it’s the old story with a bigger budget.

Obviously though, the film was never really about it’s plot. So a recycling of the story isn’t as big a flaw as it could potentially be. Pitch Perfect was always about the music. The comedy, the characters, the events were all just vehicles to move the film from song to song. The original suffered because when the songs arrived they weren’t as good as you’d hope. They’d tease you before muting. And just like everything else, Pitch Perfect 2 copies Pitch Perfect exactly, once again not quite hitting the high notes. There are some brilliant songs, mainly from the German antagonists – for instance their version of Muse’s uprising – but more often than not Pitch Perfect 2 simply teases a song towards you and then drops off into something else just as it’s about to worm it’s way into you head. And of course, Anna Kendrick’s Cups is back, but you know what’s coming, this time it’s got a bigger budget!

Elizabeth Banks (Directing) - Pitch Perfect 2

I have come away from Pitch Perfect 2 having enjoyed it, it’s a fun, simple light hearted film. It’s going to have a lot of girls dragging a lot of boys to it over the next few weeks, but I just truly don’t see the point to it. As a directorial début for Elizabeth Banks it feels a solid and well made film, but it needed a more imaginative and stand alone story. It’s not boring, it’s not overly long and it comes together smoothly. But it’s so annoyingly unoriginal. Maybe because it’s been such a short time since I saw the original that it’s too fresh, too loud in my mind and if more time has passed, and the memories faded, I’d have enjoy it more. But for me, I simply wonder why you’d watch it over the first film? Bigger isn’t always better.

7 out of 10 stars (7 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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