The Barden Bellas are back in full swing in Pitch Perfect 2, the fun sequel to the 2012 hit Pitch Perfect. The follow-up has a lot going on, but won’t disappoint fans of the original nonetheless.
The film followed up with the Barden Bellas, with Beca (Anna Kendrick) and Chloe (Brittany Snow) now leading the pack. Yes, Chloe should be well into the world of adulthood and out of college, but she loves being a Bella so much, she’s flunked school on purpose to stay in the group. Talk about commitment. All the favorite Bellas are back, including Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Lilly (Mae Lee), and Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean) and the group’s even joined by a few fresh faces like Emily Junk-Hardon (Hailee Steinfeld) and Florencia “Flo” Fuentes (Chrissie Fit). After an accident involving a VERY exposed Fat Amy and President Obama happens on national television, the Bellas must win the acapella world championships to be reinstated, as well as restore their names.
It’s a fun follow-up for sure, but there were so many different problems that needed to be resolved within the span of the film, that it felt like it could have been Pitch Perfect 2-4. Outside of trying to get ready to compete in the worlds, Beca has a secret internship at a recording studio that I’m still not entirely clear on why it had to be a secret, Fat Amy and Bumper had some relationship issues that needed figuring out and Emily the legacy was busy worrying about whether joining the Bellas was a mistake or not once she realized this ain’t her mama’s Bellas anymore. The side plots were fun to watch at times (especially the Fat Amy/Bumper stuff), but for the most part I just wanted them to be done so we could watch more Bella bonding and aca-antics (yep, I typed that and I’m standing by it).The time we did get to spend with the Bellas as a group was just as goofy and off-the-wall as the original and I loved every second of it.
Anna Kendrick gave a strong return performance as Beca. She’s always a pleasure to watch onscreen and is easily one of my favorite actresses at the moment. I’d honestly watch a movie filled with Beca’s inner monologue and side comments, because Kendrick’s delivery and comedic timing in these films are gold. Rebel Wilson brought the laughs as Fat Amy, who I think became more Fat Amy-like than she was when we last saw her, if that’s possible. Her willingness to say whatever pops into her mind always makes for an entertaining show, and this movie was no different. Hailee Steinfeld gave a sweet performance as Emily Junk-Hardon, the freshman legacy Bella who only wanted to walk in her mother’s footsteps and experience the sisterhood she’d grown up hearing about and Elizabeth Banks returned as one-half of the hilarious acapella competition commentator duo (fun fact: Banks also directed the film!).
The guys of Pitch 2 brought it as well, with the most noteable performance coming from Adam DeVine as Bumper. He’s this weird mix of adorable and annoying that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it totally works for him. His bits with Rebel Wilson were gold and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that most of the scenes between the two of them are heavily improvised, so all that funny is pure them! Skylar Astin returned as Beca’s boyfriend and lead Treblemaker Jesse Swanson, who we could have stood to see more of. He was just kind of a Beca puppy this movie, which I guess he kind of was in the original, but with more lines. John Michael Higgins provided all the misogyny I could handle as John Smith, the other half of the acapella competition commentator duo. He and Banks are like Pitch Perfect‘s version of these guys.
The theme of young women needing to come together to achieve their goals was a welcome one. The movie will definitely appeal to feminists and anyone else who is all about girl power. The Bellas aren’t just a group, they’re sisters and that means leaning on one another even when you’d rather keep whatever you’re going through to yourself. The theme is one that we don’t see often enough in films wrought with mean girls and backstabbing women, so watching 115 minutes of women being there for one another was a refreshing change of pace.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed the film and as a fan of the original didn’t feel let down, but I did feel like there was a lot more going on plot-wise than necessary. I would like to have seen more focus on the girls preparing for the world championships and re-bonding as a team after the initial embarrassement, but instead it was sacrificed for the focus on individual plots. The Bellas are the their best as a unit, playing off of one another, interacting and singing (of course!). Regardless, the movie was fun, light and if there’s a third, I’ll be around for that ride as well.
‘Pitch Perfect 2’ Trailer
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures