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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Movie Review - Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, and Katey Sagal
Directed by Elizabeth Banks

I wasn't a huge fan of the original Pitch Perfect and expectations were not high for its sequel...and that's a good thing because Pitch Perfect 2 simply rehashes all the same jokes, character traits, and plot points as its predecessor.  The biggest problem with Pitch Perfect 2 is that not a single one of the a cappella numbers in the film seems as if it has any basis in reality.  Where exactly did the Barden Bellas headed by Beca, Chloe, and (Fat) Amy (Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, and Rebel Wilson) get the money for fire effects for a show set up in a hotel ballroom?  And let's not even delve into the opening scene that places the Bellas at a concert celebrating President Obama's birthday.

It's that concert for the president that sets the ball rolling as Fat Amy inadvertently exposes her nether regions to the public when her pants rip while hanging from a Cirque du Soleil-ish device.  Amy's commando ways bring shame to the Bellas and the a cappella community and higher-ups John and Gail (the rather hilarious John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks) ban the girl group from participating in any events or competing anywhere except for the World Finals in Copenhagen.  With the Bellas in chaos, they must regroup and regain their illustrious status once again.

Unfortunately, the film feels like a complete retread of the original with the same jokes, set-ups, and types of songs being made a cappella.  Like the original, there are a few laugh-out-loud moments here and there, but the directorial debut of Elizabeth Banks just doesn't ring true in any single moment of its screen time.  Perhaps on the plus side, the best aspect of the film is a rather subdued performance by Hailee Steinfeld as a freshman at Barden College who joins the Bellas -- Steinfeld will presumably carry the torch for subsequent sequels seeing as how this film concludes with the majority of the Bellas facing graduation.  Steinfeld is pleasant enough and perhaps the most grounded character, but my hopes aren't high that future films will maintain this realistic approach for character's wide-eyed innocence.

Pitch Perfect 2 is watchable, but not much works.  Anna Kendrick looks like she doesn't want to be there, Brittany Snow's Chloe is too ditzy to be believable, and Rebel Wilson doesn't improve her acting skills at all from her first attempt at Fat Amy.  Wilson, in particular, is just an embarrassment and while I imagine some tweens may find her shtick funny, I find it nearly unwatchable.

The RyMickey Rating:  D+

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