In the past comedy sequels have often struggled to match the quality of their predecessors, with franchises such as American Pie and The Inbetweeners struggling to maintain early greatness. Pitch Perfect 2 seems to be the rare sequel to buck this trend though.
As Anna Kendrick has stated adamantly throughout the press tour for her new film, the stakes really couldn’t be lower in this film with the plot centring around the Barden Bellas having to win an international a capella competition in order to redeem themselves after an unfortunate accident whilst performing in front of the US President.
This never really feels like an alarming issue though given that the first film was also fairly minimal on plot without ever feeling dull, instead putting the emphasis on the humour and performances. Clearly this film is following the same formula as before so, whilst it’s clearly not ground-breaking, Pitch Perfect 2 is very entertaining.
The cast seems to be much more diverse this time around, allowing for the comedy to touch on race, misogyny and sexuality even more so than the first without ever making the audience feel uncomfortable. Lines such as “Let’s hear from the girls too ugly to be cheerleaders” are peppered constantly throughout and had the audience in stitches without ever feeling outlandishly offensive.
The comedy hits a real high note as well when it is intertwined within the music, which is where there is a notable improvement over its predecessor. The soundtrack, like the first, features a broad range of classics and recent hits but this time there are also some real gems like the duet between Fat Amy and Bumper.
Speaking of Fat Amy, she featured much more heavily this time around than before. This is both a blessing and a curse though. Clearly she was one of the stand-out characters from the first film but the amount that she features has meant that some of the other characters aren’t really fleshed out and are merely present to be the butt of a one-liner or to make up numbers.
As an ensemble the cast works really well, not only in terms of performances but also in terms of comedic timing and bouncing off of each other. The rivalry with Das Sound Machine was very entertaining and there was some great improvisation between them, notably Anna Kendrick’s “insults” towards them.
Whilst it was an entertaining film there was the one cloying problem that many teen comedies fall into and that is clichés. In order to accelerate the plot, there was a cringe worthily sentimental original song called Flashlight as well as the girls going on a retreat where they rediscover their friendships. As a whole it doesn’t have an overly negative affect on the film but they’re just a couple of moments that don’t feel terribly in keeping with the tone of the rest of the movie.
Overall this clearly isn’t the most original film ever and never strays too far from the format of the first film but definitely does everything bigger and more boldly than before which largely pays off with a laugh-out-loud comedy. If the standard can be maintained yet again then I’d definitely be up for a third film.
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