Kendrick, Wilson, and Snow return to the acapella stage to showcase their unique dropping beat styles, as well as dropping other stuff, like Rebel herself. Their opening numbers all seem to shock and disturb the audiences, from projectile vomiting to a botched version of Miley’s Wrecking Ball culminating in a seriously wedged Wilson flashing America. With that defaming the Bella’s throughout the country, they return to fight the oppressors of their sound and take back their title as champions. How do they do it? By trying to change history, all the while battling the demons of teenage/young adult angst, the typical life issues of what the hell am I doing with my life, where am I going, etc etc etc. So, the first film saw an identity rebranding for the Barden Bellas, from the lacklustre hip twitchers and finger snappers, to the gyrating and stripping antics of these rocking chicks busting out the Pitbull/Bruno Mars/Simple Minds mash ups. Pitch Perfect 2 brings us a more amplified image of song and dance alongside a coming of age experience for Beca, Fat Amy, and Chloe as they embark upon life after the Bellas.
The norm of sequels is that the second can never beat the first, and that is true in this case. Pith Perfect took audiences by storm, branding acapella as this cool, happening thing, and creating underdog characters with a sense of power and popularity. The sequel does the same thing, but throws them into sticky situations, which takes away from the humour of the first film. The funniest one liners and scenes in the whole film derive from the Bellas’ singing and dancing action, like Beca’s schoolgirl crush on their hot, new competition, or Fat Amy’s uber confident, hilariously blunt attitude.The empty space of banter between each performance is just that, empty and maybe even boring. But I have to give props to Elizabeth Banks’ direction and also her acting as the acapella commentator in both films, she is legendary in the field of comedy.
We are introduced to a new girl, Emily Junk, played by Hailee Steinfeld, she is like a slightly goofy, super excited to learn fan girl, but she is a bit lacklustre in my opinion and not the typical Bella if you visualise her against the first film’s audition scenes. While her mother Katherine Junk, played by Katey Sagal from Married…With Children fame, just exudes a familiar sense of comedy where we kinda want her to be a Bella, rather than her daughter.
Romance was in the air throughout the sequel too. Where the plot moves away from Beca and Jesse, as they are now in a long-term relationship, viewers are shown a more sentimental side to Bumper, played by Adam DeVine, when he declares his undying love for Fat Amy. Their match is so original and unexpected that the drama from their love story falters and just returns to sheer humour and comic appeal, most notably when she painfully runs to his side to reciprocate his feelings. And lets not forget Benji’s, played by Ben Platt, shot at happiness with the new Bella in town, Emily. Their connection is cute and quirky, like two kids new to the idea of love, who don’t know what to do, so resort to little games, like magic tricks, to make the other laugh. And the rest is history.
Aside from the slightly disappointing aura of the Bellas’ return to the big screen, their reprisal of the cups song in a mellow acoustic version did have a warm effect on myself and, I’m sure, fellow Pitch Perfect lovers. And to top all the sentimentality off, their final performance where they brought back all the past Bella’s for one night only as a farewell to their lives as Barden Bellas. The end sees Emily becoming properly initiated into the Bellas, and, as we all know how Hollywood works, probably the glimmer of hope for a third movie. But will it be any good without the original girls, Fat Amy and ‘Pound Beca Effin Mitchell.’