Monday, 21 September 2015

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) (Review)


Pitch Perfect was one of the biggest breakout comedies of 2012, raking up a substantial box office gross and a legion of fans, thanks mainly to standout roles from Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick and a specific ‘Cups’ rendition that almost, kinda shook the world. Pitch Perfect 2 came storming out the gates three years later to an even stronger box office showing (out-grossing its predecessor in three days) and building the franchise further – but how does the film stack up to the original?

We meet Beca, Amy, Chloe & Co three years down the line, as they perform for the President’s Birthday Gala. Quite frankly, it all goes tits up (ahem) and they become an international disgrace. Their only shot at redemption is at ‘The Worlds’, a worldwide a capella competition - but America’s reputation in these contests, personal troubles and struggles and group tension threatens what already seems like an undefeatable task. Can the girls take on the World and win back their crown?

The majority of the cast returns for the franchises second outing, with an expanded role and Directorship for Elizabeth Banks; who takes what worked with the first film and runs with it. Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow are particular standouts but one woman steals any and every scene she is in. Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy proves to be constantly hilarious yet again, with her expanded role offering even more belly laughs the second time around. Her chemistry with Adam DeVine as Bumper is undeniable and fun to watch but even he isn’t immune to being outshone by the funnier counterpart.  Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld offers promise as an actress, but her character is undeveloped and often one dimensional, seemingly used to progress the plot at points. This needs work for Part 3.

Unquestionably, the film is a giggle from start to finish, with varying degrees of success throughout. While some laughs are a little close to the mark, others fail to live up to it. But when the film is really, truly funny, it really, truly works. The opening sequence is incredible and super hilarious, while a scene involving Fat Amy paddling across a lake singing ‘We Belong’ made me cry of laughter – in fact, the whole retreat section is brilliantly done and a chuckle. The competition commentators continue to offer dry and witty humour that you probably shouldn’t laugh at, but you do, in a thankfully expanded role. Even when it’s not trying to be funny, you are always smiling with this film.

It’s cheesy, sentimental and more over the top than the last film, but heartwarming and an absolute giggle from start to end. While the finale performance is slightly self-admiring, the overall film continues the success of the original in more ways the one, expanding on the success and adding more room for growth. I’ll be looking forward to seeing the girls again in Pitch Perfect 3 when it hits cinemas in 2017.

Summary: Pitch Perfect 2 improves on the original in most ways – with Fat Amy being a continued highlight throughout - but needs a little fine-tuning in regards to new characters and the music selection.

Highlights: Any and every scene with Rebel Wilson/Fat Amy.

(9/10)



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