While not the worst sequel in the world, Elizabeth Banks' directorial debut is still very much a follow-up to it's predecessor. If you enjoyed the Barden Bellas' first outing though, this is sure to be something of a crowdpleaser.
The eccentric antics of all-female acapella group, the Barden Bellas have finally returned to the big screen, in this fun and upbeat sequel to their first outing in 2012.
After a disastrous wardrobe malfunction in a performance for the President, the Barden Bellas find themselves suspended from the acapella community, and pushed off of their world tour. In a bid to prove themselves and reclaim their winning status, the girls must put on a show like never before at the acapella world championships. As the event begins however, they find that as well as fighting off the competition’s general prejudice against American teams, they must also battle against several menacingly talented rival groups – including the uber-intimidating German super-group, Das Sound Machine.
Sequels, as a rule, are typically never as good as the film they’re attempting to follow. And it’s a shame that this film makes no real effort to fight that. In her directorial debut, Elizabeth Banks (who also features as commentator Gail Abernathy-McKadden) gives us a typically predictable follow up movie that – though enjoyable to an extent – is massively over-reliant on falling back into the same old jokes that made the first film so good. The humour is decidedly mixed. The trash talk between the Bellas and Das Sound Machine throughout is cringey and over-wrung, while a lot of the script’s central conversations are quipped with overly awkward, half-humourous soundbites.
To give credit where it’s due however, there are times when the film and the comedy within it works. Rebel Wilson’s characterisation of ‘Fat Amy’ is still as funny as ever, and she remains the franchise’s saving grace, as well as the film’s stand-out laugh-magnet. And it should be noted that whilst the humour is not always on point, there are some real laugh-out-loud moments. The music is also, as to be expected, very good – featuring songs by Fall Out Boy, Muse and Beyoncé just to name a few. In addition, the acapella sets and battles are undeniably well put together and bring with them a suitable sense of awe and enjoyment. There’s also a quietly amusing cameo by Snoop Dogg, in a scene where Beca (Anna Kendrick) takes control of her music producing internship.
It should also be commended that this is a film made for the most part, by women. The director, the screenwriter, the majority of the main cast – are all female. The characters are all relatively strong and admirable, even if they do fit into some classic female stereotypes, and it is rather refreshing to see male characters as the put-aside love interests for a change. Though the film isn’t without its pitfalls, it’s still amazing that before we enter the testosterone-fuelled season of summer blockbusters, we have been treated to this sharp and enjoyable burst of female talent.
Ultimately, if you go into this film expecting anything significantly different to the first film, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you go into this film wanting nothing more than to have a few laughs and to bop along to the music, then you will assuredly have a lot of fun.
Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), directed by Elizabeth Banks, is distributed by Universal Pictures, Certificate 12A.