The Barden Bellas are going from strength to strength when all of a sudden they humiliate themselves in front of the president, they are essentially kicked out of the acapella community with their only shot at redemption being the prestigious world championships (a competition that no American team has ever won). Only adding to their problems is Beca’s internship at a major production company, can the team stay together? Can they find their sound in time?
While Pitch Perfect itself was far from ahem, perfect its sequel in the act of cranking everything up has also cranked the first film’s flaws right up as well. So while in the first film we got the occasional side order of offensive stereotyping of minority characters, in the second instalment this would appear to be the main meal. This is best showcased with the addition of the character Flo – a Guatemalan Bella whose every line refers either to how she lived in squalor in her home, or how she will probably get deported soon because haha immigrants. Other stereotypical side characters return (the slut, the black lesbian, the weird Asian) but to be honest in comparison to Flo they all seem fairly tame.
This isn’t to say I didn’t laugh because I did. Rebel Wilson of course is fantastic and yet again is the best part of the film. The inclusion of Das Sound Machine (the German acapella team) does create some laughs, but not nearly as many as they should or the makers clearly thought they would. Another new edition to the team is Keegan-Michael Key as Beca’s new boss, and he is absolutely terrific as a kind of J.K-Simmons-from-Whiplash-lite and steals every scene he is in, which is quite something when he is competing with Snoop Dogg singing Christmas carols (yep you heard me). It is a funny film, but even with all of this strong material I still didn’t think it was funny enough.
Another problem I had with the film was its set pieces. Usually in a film like this, the final performance/showdown is the biggest and the best scene. In Pitch Perfect 2 this is not the case. Actually the best scene comes fairly early in the form of David Cross’ Lazar Diamond Ninja Dragon League (or something like that) which is this fantastic five way acapella showdown in a basement. It’s a brilliant scene and the film never comes close to topping it. Consequently the rest of the movie just feels a little flat (little singing joke for you there readers).
Overall, my overriding feeling about Pitch Perfect 2 is one of disappointment. Coming out in the same weekend as Mad Max and managing to eclipse it’s box office performances has led many people to shout things like “see what people want is strong feminism in films” where in reality the opposite is true. Mad Max is by far the more progressive and feminist movie.