Friday, June 5, 2015

Pitch Not Entirely Perfect: Lots of Laughs Though

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect 2

Director: Elizabeth Banks

Reviewed: 29 May 2015

jamesintexas rating--**1/2

This film is just alright.  It's funny in moments, and it is enjoyable, but it does not really know what it wants to be, and its aimlessness detracts from its overall success as a complete film. While a fan of Pitch Perfect, I found there to be less to enjoy in this film, but I did enjoy it. Somewhat. 

The film opens with a traumatic piece-de-resistance: the self-anointed Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) mistakenly botches an aerial dance piece in front of President and Mrs. Obama, essentially flashing the entire crowd and disintegrating the reputation of the Barden Bellas. Disgraced and dishonored, the women retreat to campus where they find themselves essentially banned from recruiting and performing except for a loophole involving the national acappella competition. Freshman Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), a legacy Barden Bella, joins the crew, determined to write original songs and perform them while Beca (Anna Kendrick) struggles with her new job working for a music producer (Keegan-Michael Key) who hilariously berates his staff. And Bumper (Adam DeVine) returns to campus as a security guard and in a less adversarial role than the previous film. There is a competition, of course, and you know what's going to happen.

There's a silly German acappella group called DSM to serve as potential rivals, and two of the male characters from the first film offer cameos of sorts in throwaway plot threads. The appeal has always been of the girls bonding, practicing, and performing, and the film has its moments. It doesn't seem to have as high a joke to laughs ratio as the first film; Fat Amy has become less endearing and they cannot decide whether to make her the butt of all the jokes and flat-out ridiculous or to make her a real character with an arc. There's no "Cups" level song in my opinion to leap from this film's soundtrack, and everyone seems to be okay making a modest sequel with some laughs from the commentators and some strategically placed bear traps. I'm not sure if I should have expected more.  I valued its laughs and sheer silliness at times, and I think that David Cross's brief performance as an acappella-obsessed reclusive millionaire is wonderful. 

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