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Pitch Perfect 2

**
2015

‘…most of what made the first film work, charm, chutzpah and an amiable sense of youth, are all posted missing in action…’

Guess I picked the wrong week to give up on the Pitch Perfect movies….As part of my regular series of critical re-cantings, it’s with a heavy heart that I have to say that my initial response to the second entry in the Pitch Perfect series was wrong. I wasn’t the only one to be wowed by the original film, which cheerfully showcased the harmless pursuit of acapella singing, but by the third entry in the series, things were absolutely awful from soup to nuts. At the time, the second film seemed to carry forward enough raw enthusiasm to merit pass marks, but the early signs of the rot are far more apparent on a second watch…

Anna Kendrick returns as Beca, who found fame with the Bella Bardens, an acapella group who play all the hits. Having conquered the college circuit, Kay Cannon’s sequel moves things onto an international footing, matching the Bellas up against German outfit Das Sound Machine at some huge outdoor festival. Beca has her own musical ambitions, but puts her own dreams aside to help the Bellas win the juice for the USA…

…and that’s the first mistake; the first Pitch Perfect didn’t engage in the tired ethnic stereotyping featured here, which puts flag-waving front and centre and any human drama second. Even worse, the comedy relief of Phat Amy (Rebel Wilson) is now elevated to centre stage, and it’s an unedifying spectacle of fat, fart and vaginal gags. The opening, in which Amy inadvertently displays her genitals on-stage to Barack Obama, or at least stock footage of him, is simply ghastly, and pretty much every time Amy appears, it’s an excuse for crude, sexist jokes that puncture our identification with the girls.

Sure, some of the singing is good here, but most of what made the first film work, charm, chutzpah and an amiable sense of youth, are all posted missing in action. The theme song, Crazy Youngsters by Ester Dean, is a belter, but much as it pains me to say it, it’s only the first film in this franchise that’s any good. And be warned, Pitch Perfect 4 is heading our way later this year…after watching this, the only response is a resounding aca-don’t-bother…

 

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  1. I enjoyed all three but not to the point where I would want to see any of them again. With this kind of movie as with the dance/cheerleader ones I know so little about the subject that I always wonder how we are expected to see that the winner is head and shoulders above the rest beyond the screenwriter making it so. it’s not like Rocky knocking someone out. (You are probably relieved I know so little about cheerleading.)

  2. I have to admit, I laughed my head off at your description of photos Amy.
    However, I also know I would never voluntarily watch something like that.

    Is this how you grieve?

  3. When not streaming, if the original Pitch Perfect is on somewhere I’m very likely to turn it on. One of my favorite films. I remember leaving the theatre after this second one as disappointed as any movie that ever had a sequel. To me, this movie is an embarrassment to all and I won’t rewatch it. As for the third one, I give that one credit for being better than PP2, but not much more credit than that even though the bar is really low. Truly, this is a franchise that made the pitch-perfect film right out of the gate and no one should have ever tried to capture the magic a second time. That’s my aca-rant for today.

    • This is the correct answer. It pains me to say it, but the first one was perfect and the other two are different shades of poor. Simple, easy to like concept and a great lead actress, but went off faster than curdled milk.

    • Yep, I agree completely. The first one was a surprise hit, and every good. Better off to watch PP1 3 times in a row than the trilogy. That said, if they make a 4th one I won’t be able to help myself from watching it. I know it won’t capture the magic of the original, and yet hope springs…..

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