Pitch Perfect 2

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Ben Platt, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Chrissie Fit, Katey Sagal, Anna Camp, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, Keegan Michael Key, Flula Borg, John Hodgman, Jason Jones, Jo LoTruglio, Reggie Watts, David Cross, Snoop Dogg, Pentatonix, and Several Members of the Green Bay Packers.

Directed By: Elizabeth Banks

The second time around was almost as good as the first one. I mean, there’s a lot to like here. Most of the cast is returning, minus a handful of supporting characters (rapping Trebletone boy, we’ll miss you). Banks seemed to refrain from the urge to put Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) front and center, realizing that she really is best as a supporting character (even if she’s a heavily featured supporting character). The story still revolves heavily around Becca (Kendrick), who is a senior now and leading the Barton Bellas with Chloe (Snow). She also just landed an internship at a record label, which she’s really excited for, as she starts to plan for life after acapella. Steinfeld plays “the new blood”, and her whole purpose is to do for the Bellas what Becca once did. I won’t go further, cause that’s spoiler territory, but her arc is super similar to Becca’s, except that she actually wants to be there from the beginning.

Bumper (DeVine) is getting a bit more screentime, and has been stripped of his villain status. He’s now a security guard and Fat Amy’s love interest. Benji (Platt) has way more screentime now, playing love interest to Steinfeld’s Emily. Most of the original Bella’s are back. Lilly (Lee) isn’t as weird as before. I suppose we’ve all gotten used to her. Instead, they picked up their token hispanic girl (Fit) who has had a super rough childhood prior to the Bellas. She’s a lot more random and hilarious this time around than Lilly, who is only used a handful of times. Ester Dean and Alexis Knapp are also back, and really deserve a raise. Part of what makes Pitch Perfect work so well is that most of the cast is back. If it was just Kendrick and Wilson, I’m not sure we’d be as excited. Keep that in mind for PP3 guys.

I also LOVE that Skylar Astin is back, and still leading the Trebletones. First of all, he has an amazing voice, but so often in sequels the main character loses their love interest from the first film, or they get 100% marginalized into only one scene. Astin isn’t quite the focus of the movie, but he has a presence throughout the whole film as the supportive boyfriend. It’s nice to see couples stand the test of sequel-time.

The music is good, but I think what lacked this time was the momentum. We’re immediately thrown the conflict of Fat Amy messing up and causing the future of the Bellas to be up in the air. I think what was so good about the first one was the film took a while to find itself. Here, we’re told immediately what the conflict and plot are from the first scene, and it’s obvious what the result will be. I know we’re not looking for deep plot devices in a Pitch Perfect movie, but I also don’t need to be slapped in the face with obviousness either. And making Emily essentially a perkier version of Becca was kind of a cop out. I also didn’t like that DeVine’s Bumper lost his character (essentially), turning into some quasi-good guy that you kind of feel sorry for. For Pitch Perfect 3, try to avoid making Bumper any more cuddly, OK?

Again, another review where I’m a little behind on it, but if Pitch Perfect 2 is still playing… I’d say go. I thought it was a solid followup filled with some super cool arrangements and a ton of positive changes (more Benji, Becca/Jesse still together, not too much Fat Amy). And the Green Bay Packers cameo is hilarious.

FINAL GRADE: B+

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