Pitchy But Fun, The Bellas Are Back

Common Guy, Paul Hall, reviews Pitch Perfect 2                              Music available on Spotify and Amazon

By Paul Hall

Pitch Perfect was the perfect guilty pleasure film. People of all backgrounds and genders found themselves singing along with the Barden Bellas.

In Pitch Perfect 2, now available on Blu-Ray and DVD, the Bellas are riding high after winning three straight championships only to have a “wardrobe malfunction” in front of the president cause their suspension from competition. The Bellas are resourceful and strike a deal: win the world championship and they will be reinstated — a tall order, since no United States team has ever accomplished the feat. Can they find their voice and stay together?

It’s been three years since these Bellas shocked the a cappella community by becoming the first all-women group to win the top prize. Now, they are about to move on to the next stage in their lives. But not everyone wants to move on. Chloe (Brittany Snow) is in her seventh year at Barden after telling us she keeps failing Russian Literature to stay. This group has become a family, but Beca (Anna Kendrick) sees the future and in it she’s a record producer.

While training for the world championship, Beca hides the fact that she is interning at a record label. The stress of the job, school and the Bellas is really cutting her time thin. So much so that she hardly realizes that an eager new freshman named Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) is now part of the group thanks to her mom having been a Bella.

Making everything even more stressful for the girls is the new rival Das Sound Machine. These German juggernauts are just the competitor to throw the Bellas off their game. Their look, their sound, their choreography and their aggressiveness make it difficult for Beca and the rest of the Bellas to concentrate.

Chaos, pillow fights, Fat Amy’s relationship with Bumper and a whole lot of singing ensue to try to get the Bellas back in top shape before the World Championships. But is it too little, too late for them?

Which Pitch Perfect 2 character are you?  Choose below.

|POLL-LEFT|I’ll admit it: I was a huge fan of the first film. I still watch it whenever it is on. The music coupled with the humor made it a real winner to me. This film employs a number of those winning strategies.

Most of the original cast is back, some in slightly different roles, but the Bellas are still led by Anna Kendrick. Her wisecracking was definitely present, yet diminished somewhat here. The volume was definitely turned up on Rebel Wilson. Her Fat Amy character got more screen time and more cheers from my screening audience than you could imagine. And newcomer Hailee Steinfeld is here to give us some new blood in the group. She can carry a tune and is amazingly likable, and I enjoyed the casting of Katey Sagal as her mother.

The crass commentating of John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks is back, too. One moment you cover your ears at the easily offensive dialogue and the next you are laughing out loud with the rest of the crowd and your tongue is planted firmly in your cheek.

Where the film misses is with an abundance of montage shots, some of which seem totally pointless. Sure we want to hear the music, but I felt the original went to montages solely to short-cut a competition, not just on a whim. But once the film finds its footing, it does race to a solid finish thanks to the music.
The women are the stars of this film, though we do get the men back as well, including an additional group featuring members of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.

There is no question, when you look at Pitch Perfect 2 as a film, there are lacking aspects to it. I would say it’s the movie-making equivalent to being a bit “pitchy” in its construction. But it is so extremely fun and eminently re-watchable.

I had a great time. I wanted to sing. Thankfully I didn’t until retreating to my vehicle. I may have been off-pitch, pitchy and all the rest. But the things that made Pitch Perfect fun are present in this sequel, and isn’t that the pitch we were all looking for anyway?