HOLLYWOOD—When “Pitch Perfect” arrived in theaters in 2012 it was an unexpected hit with moviegoers. It was a film that many thought little of, but after watching it changes you slightly. The flick about an all-female acapella singing group vying for the top prize, brought attention to the world of singing once again. It was cool to be a singer. Well the Barden Bellas are back with even more laughs in “Pitch Perfect 2.”
All of your favorite characters Patricia (Rebel Wilson) aka ‘Fat Amy,’ Becca (Anna Kendrick), Aubrey (Anna Camp), Chloe (Brittany Snow) and plenty of others are back to deliver laughs to the audience that will leave your stomach in cramps. This time the ladies find themselves competing on a global scale when ‘Fat Amy’ takes her antics a bit far during a performance at the Lincoln Center, sending shockwaves to The White House.
As punishment, the group is suspended from the circuit of competitions. Redemption is possible, but they will have to tackle singing sensations from across the pond who have never lost to an American team and cue the hilarity. Its not just fun to see these international groups tackle pop songs; the delivery and interaction with West versus East is awesome. It doesn’t hurt that the movie brings a new cultural element to the franchise with our Dutch antagonists.
Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld joins the ladies as Emily, a freshman eager to join the ranks. She has a bit of history though; her mother portrayed by Katey Sagal was a former Barden Bella back in the day. The first flick didn’t have as much star power, but its sequel is delivering in terms of surprise guests with cameos that might leave some in a tizzy. Emily finds herself in the middle of a burgeoning relationship with Benji (Ben Platt) who has an affinity for music and science, just as Becca is still going strong with Treblemaker leader Jesse (Skylar Astin).
Beyond those minor transgressions in the narrative, at its core, this is a movie about music. I mean I can’t tell you how frowned upon the glee club was at my high school, but TV series like “Glee” and movies like “Pitch Perfect” ushered in that wink that singing is quite cool. The fun of the first flick was its ability to pair musical mash-ups that one would never imagine; its sequel takes that notion to new heights.
I mean the audience will hear songs they haven’t heard in ages; that’s what makes this spectacle so much fun. You’re dying of laughter as Fat Amy proves sliding down the stairs can be funnier than you imagine. For the adults, its catching those inside jokes from wise cracking announcers John Smith (John Michael Higgins) and Gail Abernathy-McKadden (Elizabeth Banks). Banks takes on a meaty role this time jumping into the director’s chair to helm the sequel. This being the actress’ first feature, she proves she has the chops beyond the camera to stage the action and to craft a film that is just as witty and fun as the first one.
One could argue that in some sense “Pitch Perfect 2” outshines its predecessor. Not just because it bigger, bolder and funnier, but because it shines the light on its female cast with almost all of the cast getting an equal shot in the limelight. Yes, there are a few who are present more than others, but this is Hollywood, so not everyone can have equal screen time.
“Pitch Perfect 2” isn’t just the perfect date movie in my opinion, it’s the perfect family film, well, there are a few things that may not be PG friendly, but the laughs are a mile a minute. It’s a must-see for the summer.