The original Pitch Perfect was a surprise package back in 2012, cashing in on the Glee phenomena it presented a group of ethnically diverse misfits coming together to win the National archapella prize. The sequel arrives three years later, Glee is now about to be cancelled from American TV and this tired, retread offers some new musical numbers to appeal to its young female audience but little else.
The film opens as the Bellas perform for the Obama’s. All is going well until Fat Amy swings onto the stage singing Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball, she lacks the grace of Pink and reveals more than the world clearly wants to see. Social media takes hold and soon the group are engulfed in a national scandal. The Bellas are removed from their concert tour, replaced by a German group dressed in black leather and clearly inspired by S&M. The Bellas stripped of their right to perform must now challenge for the International a cappella crown to regain their lost status. I wonder how that will go?
Anna Kendrick returns as Becca who is attempting to balance her commitment between producing for the Bellas and working as an intern for a hot record producer. A new Bella in the form of Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) arrives literally on their doorstep to bring the nerd level up a notch. A love subplot involving ‘fat amy’ and another awkward archapella singer suitably named Bumper plays out, as does one for the ‘True Grit’ girl. The will she or won’t she become a hot producer trope is wheeled out without much originality. The film climaxes in Copenhagen, and there are a couple of toe-tapping numbers. Unfortunately when the music stops the tired plot mechanisms takeover.
Directed by actor turned director Elisabeth Banks who shows a flair for staging the big numbers but little else, scenes are obviously extended to deliver the comedy, but this fails more often than it succeeds. Kendrick is always worth a look and Aussie Rebel Wilson has her role beefed up and uses every opportunity to get a laugh. Jonathan Michael Higgins is suitably politically incorrect.
At the screening I attended the crowd were raucous, you’ve been warned.