Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld
Rating: Two-and-a-half stars
Pitch Perfect 2 treads similar turf as the original — the Barden Bellas (the award-winning, all-girls a capella group of Barden College in the US) flub a major performance at which President Obama is the special guest. They become the “butt” of all jokes — fairly literally, since their ignominy is due to one of the Bellas (Fat Amy, played by rebel Wilson) “losing” her pants on stage. When the governing body for all a capella organisations passes a resolution that the Bellas must give up their victory tour (they’re shown winning an a capella championship in the first Pitch Perfect movie), and not conduct any more auditions, the girls realise that everything they’ve worked on for so many years is in jeopardy, and the group’s legacy itself, is at end.
But they’re not giving up that easy. Beca (Anna Kendrick) realises that the resolution against them has a loophole — if they win the World A Capela Championship, the Bellas will be reinstated to all their privileges and former position. The Bellas decide they have to win at any cost, and their leader Chloe (Brittany Snow) pretty much goes into battle mode, wanting the Bellas to make the World Championship their single priority.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Beca — the star Bella — is busy trying to juggle a new internship with a music producer while making it for rehearsals; a new Bella called Emily Junk (played by Hailee Steinfeld) has been given automatic entry to the group (again, on a loophole, since her mom was a pretty famous Bella) but doesn’t seem to have found her groove with the rest of the members yet; and most importantly, the Bellas are so caught up in trying to outdo the competition — their German counterparts, Das Sound Machine — that they’ve lost sight of what makes their own music tick.
And so they sing, stumble and sometimes, caterwaul their way to the finale. There are several awkward jokes and sequences (especially those featuring Fat Amy, and Beca’s somewhat crush on DSM’s frontwoman, Kommissar), pat sub-plots (Fat Amy’s romance with another character, Bumper, played by Adam DeVine; Emily’s flirtation with a member of Barden’s all-male a capella group, The Treblemakers; and Beca’s attempts to find her own sound as a music producer) and some really good a capella music. Pitch Perfect 2 has already gone on to become the highest grossing musical comedy in the US, beating School of Rock — and while the film is absolutely no match for Jack Black’s razor sharp comedy skills, it does score high in the music department. The Bella’s a capella mash-up of Run The World (Girls) would do Beyonce proud, while Das Sound Machine’s renditions are awesome. There’s even a small appearance by Penn Masala, the only Hindi a capella group. Guest appearances by music stars like Snoop Dogg and Reggie Watts are a huge, enjoyable bonus.
All in all, Pitch Perfect 2 may go off key on the comedy, but on the a capella, it hits all the right notes....