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PITCH PERFECT 2 A Capella-ypse Now

Pitch Perfect 2
Pitch Perfect 2

Directed by Elizabeth Banks

Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld

Two successful national championships have past since the Barden Bellas’ first win, but after a disastrous wardrobe malfunction involving the President of the United States and Fat Amy’s genitalia, their heyday may be coming to an end. So when a new recruit (Hailee Steinfeld) arrives at the fraternity house to audition, she instead finds Becca (Anna Kendrick) and the group looking to go their own way. Stripped of their titles, the only way for the Bellas to survive is to win the world-wide a capella competition (sort of  a choral quarter quell), a feat which no American team has ever accomplished.

The second Pitch Perfect isn’t the breathe of fresh air that the first was. Weighed down by it’s own success it lumbers a bit, with no clear sign of which direction it wants to go in and unsure of what it wants to really do. The only sense you get is that it desperately needs to be loved like the first, so it repeats themes and situations, to lessening returns. The plot is a predictable mess, with many of the characters getting little of interest to do. The pacing is equally terrible, with a number of scenes falling flat and going nowhere.

So how is this an enjoyable experience as a movie – and make no mistake, even with everything against it, this film certainly is enjoyable. Despite the large dead patches, when it hits the right note Pitch Perfect 2 hits it hard. This is a film perfectly capable of delivering a tonne of laughs with it’s razor sharp dialogue, as well as those satisfying emotional beats. When it does then all the magic of the Bellas is back.

A lot of this magic rest on the shoulders of Rebel Wilson. Pitch Perfect 2 really seems like the ideal platform for her, and Fat Amy is a character that resonates with audiences. Wilson has taken what could be a one note character and given her nuance and depth, creating a confident character that subverts expectations but is still capable of doubt. Part of this film’s message is about leaving a legacy and in turn respecting that which has been left for you, but it is also about moving on: to realise what you actually want in life beyond the confines your comfort zone and taking that risk. Amy and Bumper’s romantic arc plays perfectly into this theme. It leads to some genuine surprises and growth in the characters, as well as an awesome Pat Benatar number ‘cos, well… Pat Benatar!

Add to this the return of the Bellas, other fan favourites such as the disturbingly inappropriate announcer duo (John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks- who is also serving as director) and an underground a capella death match and you have a movie that manages to keep you laughing through out the majority of its runtime.

Far from note perfect, instead Pitch Perfect 2 is rather a likeable piece of disposable pop music. A catchy tune, rather than a classic track.

DAVID O’CONNELL

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