“Pitch Perfect 2” is the sequel to, you guessed it, “Pitch Perfect,” a 2012 sleeper hit that has since become a little bit of a cult classic. This time around, most of the Bellas are graduating college, and after getting suspended they must come together to win the a capella World Championship for reinstatement. All of the main cast, including Anna Kendrick, Skyalr Astin and Rebel Wilson, return, and Elizabeth Banks makes her technical directorial debut (she directed a segment in “Movie 43” for which she won a Razzie, so let’s not count that).
The first “Pitch Perfect” is a little bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. It is far from a great film, but it is so darn watchable and the cast is just so darn charming that it is impossible to not enjoy. I was a little worried when I saw the trailers for this sequel, but it wasn’t going to take away from my (albeit hidden) excitement to see it. And thankfully, my fears were mostly wrong.
Let me get this out of the way right now: much like its predecessor, “Pitch Perfect 2” is far from a great film. It is stitched together, and the narrative is all over the place, and at times the whole thing feels very forced, but it is an immensely enjoyable summer film that doesn’t smudge the reputation of the first film (here’s looking at you, “Taken 2”).
The film features the same awkward, random interactions that made the first film so enjoyable. John Michael Higgins once again steals the show as a misogynistic a capella commentator, and Keegan-Michael Key has some great one-liners as a music producer.
The musical numbers are also very engaging and well-shot, and had me tapping my toes. There are different groups and styles that inject the film with different flavors and flair, including a German group that serves as the film’s antagonists.
Which brings me to my main complaint with the film. Many scenes simply happen to happen, and hold no real weight; much of the film simply feels like a compilation of subplots. Example: the Bellas are suspended simply because Fat Amy’s (Rebel Wilson) pants accidentally tear during a performance (sure, I guess?). As part of their punishment, the group is not allowed to take in any new members, but they take a new member and no one ever questions it.
It is things like this, and believe me there are more head-scratching moments, that hold “Pitch Perfect 2” back from being anything than breezy enjoyment, and that frustrates me a bit. Also, we get it. Fat Amy is fat. We don’t need a joke reminding us every five minutes.
The sequel continues to perfectly walk the line between praising a capella singing and mocking it, and after all, you’re paying the price of admission to see fun musical numbers and humorous banter, so I’m likely the only cynical person out here who will even think to mention the narrative flaws.
Here’s the bottom line: whether you’ve seen the first film or not, “Pitch Perfect 2” sings in sweet comedic harmony, even of a few of its notes fall flat. …Get it? Notes? And harmony? Because, singing? [sighhhh] I’m telling ya, I slay even myself sometimes…