Pitch Perfect 2Title: Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Runtime: 115 minutes

The original Pitch Perfect was spot-on with what it had to say. Acapella singing wasn’t huge, but had a voice on shows like The Sing Off, which brought us Penatonix, but more on them later. Pitch Perfect came out right when Glee had lost its steam, and it offered a lesser-known cast, but somehow  remained charming, unique, and funny. It was also illed with a diverse cast of women, and though they didn’t all get a ton of screen time, each had her moment. I was stoked when I heard Pitch Perfect 2 was happening, but I instantly lost momentum when the first teaser wasn’t funny or interesting, and just used the “Cups” song.

Pitch Perfect 2 picks up three years after the first film ended. All of the girls remain on campus to finish their final year of college, except Aubrey, who graduated after the last film. Chloe has remained behind, afraid to graduate, so each year she fails the same class just so she can be part of the Bellas. It seems Beca is the only one focusing on her future, as she takes on an internship at a record company. The film opens with the girls performing for President Obama, and Fat Amy accidently flashes the president her furry muffin, which gets them kicked off their tour, and replaced with Das Sound Machine, a German acapella group. The only way the girls can regain their title, and be allowed to stay on campus, is to win the World Championship.

There is so much wrong with this film’s plot that I just don’t know where to begin. The characters are mere shadows of their former selves, with Fat Amy being the only one who is immune to this. Remember how cute Jesse and Beca were? Too bad, as they have less than two-minutes of screen time together. The main focus is on new Legacy member Emily, who in the grand scheme of things gets barely any screen time either, as a huge portion of the film is focused on Beca doing her internship, and her boss cutting down a hipster.

The other girls don’t really get a mention. Lilly still whispers crazy things, except now they are just stupid and make no sense. The Latino of the group always has a comeback about how awful her life is being a Mexican. When asked what she plans to do after graduation, she responds with, “I’m probably going to get deported back to Mexico. I’ll try and escape on a raft, but I’ll drown in the ocean.” It’s not funny, but rather stereotypical racism, and the other ethnic characters in the film face the same narrow-minded dialogue, with the film using their race or ethnicity to define them instead of their actions. (For the record, I couldn’t find the actresses name in the IMDB credits, and I don’t think her name is ever used in the film.)

Lets be honest, though: we just want good music in our Pitch Perfect outing. While some songs are good, most fall flat. The Snoop Dogg cameo is atrocious, The riff-off, while fun, and including a solid guest appearance, falls victim to being an exact carbon copy of the first film, except with different songs. Pitch Perfect 2‘s  biggest flaw is with Das Sound Machine. At no point in the film are the Bellas better than them. That’s a problem because you’re supposed to root for the Bellas, but DSM performs better the entire film, and it’s hard to deny that they’re a more talented group overall. The Penatonix cameo is a big waste of ninety-seconds.

I recently watched The Last Five Years, which also stars Anna Kendrick. I don’t know what happened since the last Pitch Perfect, but she was not interested in doing this film, and it shows in every scene she’s in. She looks to be completely uncomfortable in the role, so much so that the person I saw it with made a comment about it after the film finished. Rebel Wilson truly shines and steals the show, but whoever picked her wardrobe for most of these scenes shouldn’t be allowed to ever dress anyone in Hollywood again. The wardrobe choices constantly made her look like a stuffed sausage thanks to the skin tight dresses they put her in.

Pitch Perfect 2 is about as soulless a sequel Hollywood can churn out. Gone are the characters we cared about from the first film, and instead we get these hollow shells filled with racist stereotypes. Most jokes fall flat, the music feels uninspired whenever DAS wasn’t performing, and, honestly, the Bellas just do not out perform the original cast. Pitch Perfect 2  is the equivalent of throwing money away, and I almost want to say that you’d be better off watching the third season of Glee instead, but I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy.

one_and_a_half_stars

Fandango

Chris Ranson
Film Critic at Cinefessions

Chris was raised on horror films, which gave him a deep love for the genre, especially its most quirky and offbeat titles (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). This love quickly turned into an obsession for cinema in 1997, when he decided he needed to see every major theatrical release. Video games (JRPGs), reading (anything but fantasy), and reality television (Survivor) are just some of his other passions. He’s been with Cinefessions since 2013, and has been writing reviews all over the internet for the past twelve years.