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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
May 19th saw the release of Pitch Perfect 2, the long awaited sequel to the 2012 surprise musical/comedy sleeper hit. And the follow-up is pretty much the exact same thing as the original and a hell of a lot of fun.
The story picks up three years after the Barton Bellas won their first national championship. Since that time, the group, led by Anna Kendrick’s Beca, have become a little too complacent and have begun to rely more on special effects during their shows than letting their singing be focused. They begin their senior year with disastrous show which ultimately suspends the group from preforming in an official light. However, they strike a deal that if they are able to win a world championship (where they meet stiff competition from a snobbish German team), they will be reinstated.
During their trials, the Bellas encounter sing-offs, new members, original songs, and rock-bottom fall-outs. If you haven’t already figured this out, Pitch Perfect 2 pretty much follows the exact same story beats as its predecessor (kind of like Ghostbusters 2). However, none of this bothers me at all.
One of the saving graces is that the movie is fun. The cast is having a blast, and that was infectious. Everything is light and breeze, and the film embraces what it is. This is one of the key ingredients that makes this sequel completely work.
Pitch Perfect 2 also doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to be too cool and hip, because the first was surprisingly popular. The movie doesn’t rely on needless gimmicks to make it seem relevant. Most of the goofy stuff here was introduced in the original and grew organically in the sequel. There is nothing in it that feels out of place. Even the extended cameo by the Green Bay Packers (an idea that sounds awful on paper) actually works given the way they were introduced into the film. The film didn’t try to accommodate the Packers. Instead, the Packers accommodated the film – which is how something like that should be done.
Director Elizabeth Banks gives the film a good balance and also smartly doesn’t completely rely on the first installment’s breakout characters, Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy and Banks’s and John Michael Higgins’s inappropriate announcers, to carry the film. Not to say they do not have a presence, but they are not overused to the point of being obnoxious (they probably have as big of a role as they do in the first installment). This could have easily been the Fat Amy movie, but Banks didn’t go that route, and Pitch Perfect 2 is better for it.
I like Pitch Perfect 2. It was fun to revisit these characters and this world. It is also an example of how to do an unexpected sequel correctly. I’d be down for a third movie in this series if the same creative staff stayed intact. Given the runaway success that this sequel has had already, I think we’ll get that third movie. Here’s hoping they continue the trend they started here.