"In general, this is an excellent sequel. If you are a fan of the original, I guarantee that you will love this even more"
Three years after the success of the first outing for the Barden Bellas, Brownstone Pictures has brought us another hilarious instalment which will have you singing the soundtrack for months to come.
Pitch Perfect 2 sees the Bellas cast out from their role as the top acapella group in America after a particularly humiliating performance at the Lincoln Center. In order to restore their position (and their dignity) they must enter and win an international competition that no American Group has ever won before.
With Elizabeth Banks in her new role as director, as well as actor and producer, I can only imagine the pressure she must have felt to live up to the massive popularity of the first film. The good news is that they pulled it off -- everything is bigger and better in this film.
Part of the draw from the last film was the humour; a mixture of flat out silly, dark and just plain offensive laughs, which are not to everyone’s taste. But for me, it takes me back to some of the classic English comedies I grew up with. Yes, some of the jokes are pretty low brow and yes, they do offend everyone, but here-in lies the beauty of it. They do not victimise one group of people; no-one is singled out. Everyone is open to ridicule and everyone is ridiculed, including themselves. A prime example of this is a particularly funny scene (seen, in part, in the trailer) where the Bellas are discussing their chances in the international competition and it is left to acapella pundits Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) to explain why no American has won the competition before. In short, it’s because “Everybody hates us”.
The musical numbers have stepped up a notch since the last instalment and now they’re more complex and dramatic. Particular credit must be given to the German group “Das Sound Machine” headed by Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) and Pieter Krämer (Flula Borg). Their musical performances are spot on, creating real intimidation for the Barden Bellas and Kommissar and Pieter are a brilliant double act with Pieter running his mouth, hilariously ridiculing the Bellas as Kommissar stands by with an almost perpetual look of disgust on her face. The characters are stereotypically German but are given enough of an upper hand that it does not feel like they are being picked on.
There is an abundance of star cameos, clearly drawn by the popularity of the first film, each used to perfection. Although some have been hinted at in the trailer, there are a few that you just will not see coming. As for the few new major players, Hailee Steinfeld is suitably adorable as Emily, the new Bella recruit, who’s another great singing talent that I was not aware of. Beca’s boss is played by Keegan-Michael Key, bringing a side-splitting distraction to the main storyline. Full of energy and ridiculously quick-wit, he is a joy to watch and an excellent commentary on the sometimes ludicrous behaviour of the modern music industry.
My one gripe would be the lack of Beca (Anna Kendrick) in this film. Despite being touted as the lead in both films she is conspicuously missing from a lot of the main storyline. When she does appear, she lacks the energy of the other girls, highlighted by the force of nature that is Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy. Luckily, the energy and verve of the other girls make up for this deficit and the film does not suffer too much because of it.
In general, this is an excellent sequel. If you are a fan of the original, I guarantee that you will love this even more. If you’ve never watched it before, what the hell have you been doing?! Seriously though, take your friends, head out to a cinema and prepare to spurt Sprite out of your nose with the laughter that occurs every other minute.