Review: ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ Is Slightly Off-Key But Still ‘Aca-Awesome’
“Pitch Perfect 2” doesn’t hit every note but is still “Aca-Awesome!”
When I saw the first Pitch Perfect, I was pleasantly surprised. During a time when Glee had a following so strong that fans were called “Gleeks,” “Pitch Perfect” was a refreshing comedy that poked fun at the “Aca-obsession.” Now with “Pitch Perfect 2” hitting theaters, the question is, “Is this film still in key?”
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 2.5
The first film wasn’t cinematic gold but truly excelled in the entertainment value arena. The plot was predictable, characters were simple, and overall the first “Pitch Perfect” was pretty basic. Given that the sequel is essentially that same formula continued, “Pitch Perfect 2” takes that formula and stretches it a little bit thinner. The plot revolves around the Bellas attempting to win a competition yet again. The characters haven’t changed and run through the same antics. But despite these stale elements, there is a vibrant constant between the two films.
The score is absolutely amazing! The variety of song covers are both reminiscent of the past and innovative adding to the variety of comedy present throughout the film. While “Pitch Perfect 2” brings many laughs related to a capella, there is nothing funny about the vocals and stage performances (except of course when accidents happen). Much like any sequel, the budget was bigger which allowed for more elaborate performances, better costume design, and of course…more song covers. For those that are fans of the music of “Pitch Perfect” you may be able to find an appreciation for that music that invalidates the regurgitated elements from the first film. I certainly did. It was obvious that this second film was not built on developing the characters further but instead on the highlights of the first film which were the comedy and music.
While I’ve stated that the music is on par with the first, the comedy is actually a step up. The Bellas are fun to laugh at (and with) but the supporting cast brings some fresh new laughter that wasn’t present in the first film. By far, the comedic highlight of the film was newcomer Keegan-Michael Key (“Key & Peele”) who plays Beca’s (Anna Kendrick) boss at her new internship. The man just exudes comedy inciting laughter through his delivery and his expressions. The rest of the added comedy came from the extended screen time for Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. Their commentary was limited in the first film but in “Pitch Perfect 2” they step things up with shock value humor that pushes the boundaries with chauvinist, racist, and other obscene remarks. Their banter and comments may not be intelligently executed but it frequently catches you off guard for some uncomfortable laughter.
While the laughter and music was there, “Pitch Perfect 2” was not a cinematic masterpiece, nor was it expected to be. It is essentially a revamped replay of the first film that plays to the elements that audiences loved, which is not necessarily a bad thing for “Pitch Perfect” fans.
Entertainment Value – 4
Cinematics aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I found myself laughing throughout and in awe during the musical extravaganzas. The comedy was a step up with added comedic cast member Keegan-Michael Key and the music was on par with the first film. While the music was on par with the first “Pitch Perfect,” the overall stage performances were a step up. This time around, watching the musical acts on stage was like watching an actual concert which made a lot of the music scenes more engaging than the first film.
Cut and dry, “Pitch Perfect 2” focused on entertainment and it was apparent. If you’re looking for a film that’s going to put a smile on your face this weekend then this is it. Even for those that won’t admit to liking music-centric films, there’s enough comedy to justify you admitting you enjoyed the film and many catchy songs that you can relate to. For the rest of you that enjoy these type of films, be prepared for an experience.
Rewatchability – 3.5
I’ve rewatched the first “Pitch Perfect” multiple times (maybe due to Anna Kendrick’s hotness) and I think “Pitch Perfect 2” is another film that I could graciously enjoy a few more times. It stepped up the comedy which I could see myself enjoying for a few replays, but the music is where the real replay value comes into play. Just like a favorite song that you have to listen to over and over again, “Pitch Perfect 2” creates that necessity with an added visual bonus.
Of course there comes a time where even a favorite song may become tiring and you have to take a break, but in the end you know you’ll have to listen another time and in “Pitch Perfect 2’s” case, watch another time.
"Pitch Perfect 2" is much like the first film with repeated cinematic elements of plot, character development, and theme. Where this film shines is its entertainment value and showmanship as the larger sequel budget allows for a more grandiose stage performance, more song covers, and an overall improvement in comedy. If you weren't a fan of the first film you probably won't enjoy "Pitch Perfect 2" but if you were a fan, make sure to continue your a capella journey with this film.