Going global. So the Bellas are still doing their thing, performing their song covers on stage. After a snafu in front of the President of the United States, they are banned from performing at the collegiate level. Their only chance for redemption is to win the international a cappella competition, a feat that has never been accomplished by any American team. I’m really kind of baffled that this movie exists; the first one was decent, but it was an enigma, and there was positively nothing about it that said “sequel”. But Hollywood being Hollywood, anything that can turn a profit gets a sequel, and they clearly know what they are doing better than I would (if I somehow managed to get a cushy executive job, that is). The performance of this movie has made it abundantly clearly that there is a market out there for this, as this banked more than $118 million more than the first one. Between the two films, this series has racked in nearly $250 million.
I do love me some Anna Kendrick; while not all of her movies succeed, I always like to see her show up in a movie because she has an affable likability about her. What made the first Pitch Perfect such a success was its simplicity; when you break it down, it is just Bring It On with a cappella singing instead of cheerleading. Even though these pop songs have an incredibly short shelf life and are already halfway out the door (seriously, this movie is roughly 3 months old, and the majority of the songs featured have already started to turn stale), it doesn’t matter all that much because that is when the movie is at its best: when it is doing its song mashup thing. The first film did nothing but cut to the chase, and I respected it for that. This sequel on the other hand, has a ridiculous amount of filler, which is something that rubbed me the wrong way. There are running subplots that never grab your interest, including not one but two romances that really don’t matter, and there is a fifteen minute camping retreat right between the second and third acts that serves no purpose other than to take up time and run out the clock.
I don’t want to come down too hard on this, because it’s not all bad. The musical arrangements are creative and enjoyable. I also like the fact that they are bringing it way back by having German villains in competitive a cappella, which is something I just find to be a funny core concept. The funniest character featured is the announcer that John Michael Higgins plays, and I just really like him as an actor and all of the off-the-wall things he is given to say. Regardless, there is too much filler for me to give this a pass, and it is overlong to the point that you just want it to end halfway through.
Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) **1/2
– Critic for Hire