“Pitch Perfect 2” Review
“Pitch Perfect 2”, which is making a killing at the box office this weekend, is the follow-up to the first “Pitch Perfect” film, which I liked quite a bit. In the interim between the two films, I became a member of an a cappella group and while I was already a huge fan of this type of music, I now relate to this franchise on a different level. Though these movies are a highly unrealistic depiction of what a cappella music and college a cappella culture is like, I think they are somewhat farcical to begin with and therefore none of this should be taken too seriously.
I think there are ways in which this second installment is actually an improvement upon its predecessor. I think the first one tried its hand at a specific tone which it mostly got right but hadn’t refined yet. I think this film does a better job with that. True to that point, I think the jokes in this film are both often funnier and more frequent than in the first. I think this second film also does a better job utilizing most of the supporting cast, particularly Brittany Snow, franchise newcomer Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) and “Pitch Perfect” scene stealer Rebel Wilson.
However, a lot of what is better about this second one is also tied directly to the ways it’s not as good as the first one. For example, while the supporting cast is given a better spotlight, star Anna Kendrick occasionally feels sidelined and missing from the action. While part of this is built into the narrative, it still feels awkward because Becca is the main character and she’s really our eyes into this world. Kendrick still gets her moments, but her arc felt much more secondary this time around. Part of this is that the film i simply trying to juggle too much narratively and as a result, certain plot points feel either half baked or like complete afterthoughts. In particular, the budding relationship between Becca and Jesse (Skylar Astin) and really his entire character is put so far down on the totem pole of this films priorities that he goes missing for most of the film.
In the end, these flaws were only a slight detraction for me and this is still a very enjoyable film.