2015 / Director. Elizabeth Banks.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I was a fan of the first PITCH PERFECT and it was a movie that came from out of nowhere and crushed all of my expectations. It was a surprisingly smart teen flick that was bursting with energy and towed a subversive line alongside a saturation of dance movies, which mostly pandered to the dimwitted. The thought of a sequel left me with mixed feelings as I was keen to see more but also worried that it would be a desperate clutch to emulate the original. I saw it with a full-house, comprised mostly of teenage girls, and found myself totally immersed. The film picks up several years later with the 'Bellas' being disqualified from the national acapella circuit when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) disgraces herself in front of President Obama. With their college years coming to an end they seize their final opportunity to redeem themselves by competing in a world championship against their German rivals, 'Das Sound Machine', and set about finding a new voice in an attempt to reinvent themselves. The film clings to the formula of the first story and relies on the same character dynamics and the strength of its musical sequences. What impressed me was that it pushes past the edges of political correctness and never apologises. It is riddled with racial jokes, sexist jibes and homophobic slurs, most of which are delivered brilliantly by John Michael Higgins. These moments are hilarious and would be completely inappropriate were they not delivered with total ignorance and blatant hypocrisy. The original cast all return with some of the previous front-liners taking a back-seat and providing opportunity for others to step forward. Once again they're a strong cast and they're supported with some great bit-parts from the likes of David Cross, Katey Segal, Keegan-Michael Key and Snoop Dog. PITCH PERFECT 2 definitely peddles harder to maintain the momentum and could do without a few distracting scenes, but for the most part it delivers an energetic and captivating atmosphere. Haters will be haters and it is certainly a film for the fans. Most teenage viewers will lap it up on face value, whereas the more astute audiences will appreciate the comedic subtleties and cultural references. It was directed by Elizabeth Banks, who appeared in the first one, and she brings a greater level of understanding of the comedy and how far she can push it. I also suspect that having the legendary John Michael Higgins by her side helped bolster her confidence to go for broke. This is lots of fun and it's very infectious... and I'll catch it again soon, no doubt.