Pitch Perfect 2
We’re Back Pitches
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Script: Kay Cannon
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam DeVine, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks
Length: 115 minutes
You’ve got to love the clever word play of the tagline: We’re Back Pitches. See…. you expect ‘Bitches’ and many people will probably just read it incorrectly and see ‘Bitches’. But ‘Pitches’ plays upon the similarity between ‘Pitches’ and ‘Bitches’ and subverts our expectations as well as using a clever pun. Excellent. Just in case you needed that explaining?! ;)
Many feared that the sequel to the sleeper hit Pitch Perfect would be a by-the-numbers-affair and to be fair it is. But it takes the original beats - unexpected but catchy songs, girl power and crude humour and just pushes the boundaries a little further, building on the solid base of the original film.
Critical analysis aside for a moment, let’s look at the financial angle. Made for a relatively modest budget of $29M, Pitch Perfect 2 has grossed $285M at the Worldwide box-office. When a film makes close to ten times its budget you’ve got a serious financial hit. The original film made for $17M and grossing $115M has been smashed. Generally sequels make less than original film that spawned so this is even more impressive and unsurprisingly a third instalment is already in the works.
Set a few years after the first instalment, Beca (Anna Kendrick) is now leader of the Barden Bellas and they’ve been invited to perform at President Obama's birthday gala. The performance does not go well and the Bellas are excluded from all future a cappella performances. This all seems somewhat silly as the film doesn’t work unless their is a cappella singing. This feels like a weird plot turn. Beca cuts a deal to allow the group to sing in the World Championships which seems ridiculous considering they had already been banned from competing. You’ll just have to go along with the plot details and enjoy this film for the humour and the singing. Beca is also now working at a recording studio as an intern, but secretly from her friends.
Elizabeth Banks directs with style and a command of her art that belies her newcomer status working behind the camera. Of course she still has a part to play in the film as one half of the hilarious comedy duo as she is joined once again by John Michael Higgins as crazy a cappella commentators. Their chemistry is unbeatable and they deliver some of the most memorable and funny lines of the film.
Kendrick’s performance is as solid as ever. She’s a great actress, a fantastic singer and reportedly ad-libbed many of her lines - the freshness shines. She is the lynchpin of the movie and her star power keeps the film afloat effortlessly. Her supporting actors are good and whilst it’s not exactly a star vehicle for her it is undeniably Kendrick’s film. And she deserves her star status.
Much like a musical version of the film Dodgeball, you’ll enjoy watching the other a cappella teams competing… some fantastic like the new German group and some not so in tune.
Pitch Perfect 2 is a fun and funny film. It’s well written, despite a few plot quirks and it’s well directed. It’s certainly worth your time and no doubt the third film in the series will be hugely anticipated. Quite why it took so long after the first film to get a second film made is a mystery.