In “Pitch Perfect 2,” the three time defending acapella national champion Barden University Bellas are riding high. Led by Beca (Kendrick) and Fat Amy (Wilson), now seniors, everything seems set up for more greatness for the group.
That all changes after a completely humiliating performance in front of the United States President which results in the Bellas being suspended from competition. To regain their status, the team enters an international competition, bringing along freshman newcomer Emily (Steinfeld), with the hope of winning a world title.
The story of “Pitch Perfect 2” unfortunately took basically the same route as the first movie. The group gets embarrassed, has to regroup and win a competition. It all feels too familiar and it has less subtlety in the humor than the first one had. This time around, the jokes and gags seemed overused and at times, a bit forced.
It certainly wasn’t the case for every attempt at humor, but it was very noticeable that the film was reaching too far at points.
Another issue with this sequel was first time director Elizabeth Banks’ handling of the picture. “Pitch Perfect 2” was a little oddly paced and had a few subplots that could have been cut from the film. The whole world competition was a let down, too, as it wasn’t as epic as the movie was hyping it up to be.
One area that did work, though, was a story about an internship that Beca had at a music producing studio. The few scenes that she is there, comedian Keegan-Michael Key shows up as Beca’s boss and he has some of the best lines in the whole movie. The movie could have likely benefited from the competition playing a larger role in the overall film and Beca’s internship being expanded upon.
The actresses in the leads were on point in “Pitch Perfect 2.” Anna Kendrick was once again phenomenal as the leader of the pack, bringing the sarcastic realist back to the big screen while still making the character likable. The same can be said for Rebel’s Fat Amy character who brings the confidence that her she had in the first movie. For both of these characters, and other returning characters, though, the material they were given wasn’t all that great.
As previously stated, the humor at points was forced and this was apparent with characters like Fat Amy having more jokes then what was probably needed to have a good comedy. After a while, the humor simply started getting repetitive. With that said, the interactions between the characters are still good and the team does have some nice moments of camaraderie.
An additional positive is the newcomer to the series Hailee Steinfeld as Emily. Her character actually has an interesting story arc as she is a song writer and shakes things up a bit as the rest of the Bellas only sing covers. Steinfeld adds something fresh to the film and is definitely a welcome change.
The highlight of the movie, though, is the music and the way the songs are performed. The music mashups that were done by the singing groups were energetic and fun to listen to. It was apparent that all of the actresses that played the Bellas were very involved in the music and it made for an enjoyable experience whenever a song would start.
“Pitch Perfect 2” does suffer from rehashing the story of the first film, having unnecessary subplots and the comedy material being forced at times. However, the film still has the strengths of having a good core of actresses, a great performance from Key and solid musical performances. Fans of the first movie will enjoy the sequel and casual viewers should have sufficient entertainment. 2.8 out of 5.