James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
Cole Clay // Film Critic
PITCH PERFECT 2 | 115 min | Rated PG-13
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Katey Sagal, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks
On paper, 2012‘s PITCH PERFECT should have been a complete failure. But looking back three years later, it was the breath of fresh air nobody knew we needed. If I could be so bold– it’s a bonafide “aca-classic.” It was a novel and an empowering move by Universal Studios that promoted diversity among all walks of life.
PITCH PERFECT 2 could have easily hit the infamous “brown note” as most sequels do, but this exception to the rule quickly realizes all we need is more of the same harmonious melodies and absurd wit that the predecessor offered.
All the gals are back, as Beca (Anna Kendrick) is leading the Bellas with her “I can do it myself” attitude; Chloe (Brittany Snow) is in non-stop freakout mode; Lily (Hanna Mae Lee) is whispering creepy non-sequiturs; and of course, who can forget the illustrious confidence of Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson)?
This is a certified copy of the original, except now the Barden Bellas are now three-time defending collegiate a cappella singing champions. However, they yet again find themselves embarrassed after a “wardrobe malfunction” compromises their reputation. And by some stroke of luck, the crass commentators John (John Michael Higgins) and Gail (Elizabeth Banks – also now on directing duties) are the ones handing down the punishments that find the ladies banned from domestic competitions. Their only hope winning is the A Cappella World Championships in Copenhagen, but of course, there are several obstacles in the way.
Beca has all but checked out in favor of an internship at a recording studio. The Bellas must defeat the juggernaut Das Sound Machine from Germany whose fearless leaders Komissar (Birgitte Hjort Sorenson) Pieter (Flula Borg) bring a Bavarian energy that leaves Beca hot and bothered with a loss for words.
That’s about it, and from there the jokes start flowing and hijinks ensue. Banks and returning screenwriter Kay Cannon find the funny in nearly every scene. Chiefly Higgins and Banks do their worst by providing overwrought commentary that kills it with each and every offensive line. The farcical comedy works in most cases, but Canon flubs up two of the minority Bellas: Flo (Chrissie Fit), a Latino who has nothing to say other than her fears of being murdered after deportation, and Cynthia (Ester Dean), a lesbian African-American who is chronically horny for all her “aca-buddies.” For a film that screams look beyond the surface, PITCH PERFECT 2 largely perpetuates stereotypes.
Look, PITCH PERFECT 2 isn’t going to give you any surprises, some are even replicated like the groovy battling scene that’s taken to the next level in the underground lair of a loony benefactor (David Cross). It’s got the melody and plenty of bubblegum pop to get those pipes a humming.
PITCH PERFECT 2 opens tonight at 7 p.m. in participating theaters and everywhere tomorrow.