Film review: PITCH PERFECT 2, from ‘Built For Speed’

Falling somewhere between Glee, Bring It On and Ben Stiller’s Dodgeball, the occasionally amusing Pitch Perfect 2 celebrates competition, a Capella singing and female bonding while taking the piss out of all three.

Reuniting the core cast of the first film: Beca (Anna Kendrick), Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Chloe (Brittany Snow), the sequel sees a Capella singing group the Barden university Bellas facing annihilation after Amy unintentionally flashes the audience (which includes President Obama) at a singing contest. Consequently, the only way authorities will allow the group to survive is if they win the a Capella singing world title. So, once again we have the hoary old plot device of the zany underdogs forced to risk it all in a major singing competition where they must face who else but a merciless German team. As they confront the prospect of life beyond the Bellas, some of the women contemplate career options while the rest are firmly ensconced in their strange alternate reality.

The plot of this film takes a distant second to the musical numbers (which range from mellifluous and inspired to irritatingly manic and quirky) and mildly obscene gags about women behaving badly. Some of the jokes are nonsensical and their delivery unintelligible but there’s an impressively surreal thread to the gags that produces a few genuinely funny moments.  Still, despite a feel good element and its all-encompassing quirkiness, this film is at times embarrassingly misguided and offensive with gags relying on fat shaming and racial stereotyping.

The leads do pretty much what they do in all their films: Rebel makes sexually suggestive, politically incorrect comments in a dead-pan voice while Anna Kendrick is once again an innocent but feisty pixie woman. Familiar as their respective characters are, both women are still fun to watch.

Director Elizabeth Banks gives the film a crazy flailing energy which will delight those with limited attention spans but will annoy cinema goers who enjoy restraint and subtlety in their films or at least a camera that holds steady for two seconds.

Banks also appears in the film as a singing competition commentator alongside an acerbic John Michael Higgins.  They provide a few genuine laughs although Higgins delivers some of the most politically incorrect dialogue of recent times.

Pitch Perfect 2 is predictable, at times flat-out annoying and won’t win over those not converted by the first film but it should prove a lot fun for devotees of the franchise and of Glee.

Nick’s rating: **1/2.

Genre: Musical comedy.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Elizabeth Banks.

Release date: 7th May 2015.

Running time: 115 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. 


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