By T. Mack
The first time you squeeze juice from an orange, you get refreshing orange juice. If you try to rejuice that same piece of fruit, you get mushy, wet pulp. Unfortunately, Pitch Perfect 2 is mostly just so much mushy pulp.
The Bardon Bellas are back. This time, they are on top of the world. They are three-time national champions and performing for the President on his birthday when there is a wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions. Following this, the Bellas are disgraced, denied their national tour, told they cannot recruit new members and barred from competing. But they have a plan. And of course, wackiness ensues.
Almost all the ladies you love from the first movie are there. Added to the mix is a cooky foreigner who off-handedly tells horrifying stories from her time back home. I believe this is an effort on the filmmakers’ part to let us know that they know this entire film is about nothing but frivolous, first-world problems. There is also the addition of an energetic and eager freshman “legacy” who jumps through a loophole to join the Bellas despite their order to not recruit. Even the single Bella who’s managed to move on and graduate college in the last three years makes an appearance.
In the first movie, the group was just coming together and we only started getting to know them toward the end of the film. If you’re like me, you’re probably looking forward to learning more about these ladies this time around. Too bad! If they’re not Becca, Fat Amy or the new girl, you’re out of luck.
Every single thing you loved about and laughed at during the first film is redone. You will love them less and definitely not laugh as hard as you did last time. During the first film, these jokes, characters and scenarios were new and fresh. Here they are rehashed and basically just a shadow of what you enjoyed so much before. If you are one of those folks who felt that the commentators stole too much attention in their scenes, brace yourself. They get much more screen time but are unpleasantly much less funny now.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some new things happening. Unfortunately, they’re more confusing than they are enjoyable. Becca has a job. So how does she get time off to do all the Bella stuff? Does anyone go to class in this place? Why do acapella groups have houses like fraternities and sororities? Is that normal? (Thinking back, I think the TrebleMakers may have had a house in the first film but the Bellas didn’t. Why is that? And how did they manage to get one now?) How can you be performing for three years with the same ladies and still not know who they are? One girl announces she is getting married. What? To whom? We’re not going to clarify that? Not one of her Bella sisters is going to ask a single question about this? We’re just going to zoom right past that, huh? Okay… I guess. Also, why is everyone in this group besides the new freshman graduating? Have you been winning national championships for three years without recruiting any new members? What?! Also, let me just briefly mention the timeline of this film, which was so incoherent that I was pulled out of the movie trying to figure it out.
Other new elements include some very famous names and faces. Some are themselves and some are characters. It was cool to see them,however… I got the feeling they were there to distract from the fact that the film doesn’t have much weight or substance. So they flashed a bunch of famous faces across the screen in the hopes that the movie would be made cool by association. I’m afraid it didn’t work. The music was fun, though not nearly as enjoyable as it was in the first film. There was a bit of original music that I did enjoy very much.
In the end, Pitch Perfect 2 is an okay film. I did laugh sometimes and enjoyed seeing these characters again. But I was relieved I’d only paid matinee price. This is not a move anyone needs to rush out and see. If you have an afternoon to kill and nothing else you desperately want to watch, pay matinee price. If you don’t catch it in theaters, you haven’t really missed anything. Rewatch the original and check this one out when it hits DVD.
Rating: 3 SHIELDS