I watched Pitch Perfect in 2012 when it first came out because it combined two things I love: movies and singing. And it’s fair to say the film was a huge hit. From the songs to the characters to the script, the film gained a cult following. So, when the sequel came around the corner, the outpour of support from the fans resulted in a third installment being deliberated on. For those reasons and more, I couldn’t wait to watch Pitch Perfect 2. After having done so, I wish I hadn’t.
The sequel follows the Bellas three years after the events of the first movie. Despite winning a few national championships , the Bellas face the possibility of being dismantled due to certain mishaps, and the only way to ensure the continuity of the institution of the Bella is through winning the world championship.
Most of the cast members from the first film reprise their roles including Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Rebel Wilson, Adam DeVine, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, and Elizabeth Banks, who also steps into the director’s shoes for this one. This time around, they are joined by Hailee Steinfeld (of True Grit glory), Katey Segal, and Chrissie Fit.
Part of why everyone loved the first movie so much was the characters. In the sequel, that’s exactly what I missed. They don’t seem like the same characters, and it feels like they are at their younger cousin’s birthday party, dying to leave. As an ensemble, they do an okay job, but barely anyone stands out.
Anna Kendrick reprises her role as the beloved Becca, struggling with the end of the Bella era and the start of her post-college career in the form of an internship. To me, she was way better in the first film. Here, she seems distant. The character is not very relatable not to mention Kendrick‘s lack of conviction in portraying her this time. The edgy attitude and unassuming coolness that people loved about her in the first movie are non-existent. This is a very forgettable Becca.
Rebel Wilson, while entertaining as always, wasn’t as funny this time around. Aside from some Fat Amy-isms we knew and loved from the first movie, nothing about the new Amy makes her hold her own. It constantly seems like she tries to live up to the character she was in the first movie, but fails not due to her talent as an actress, but because of the horrid script she had to work with. But more on that later.
A delightful addition, and to me, the character who stole the show, was Flo, played by Chrissie Fit. Her lines were the funniest in the movie, and Fit delivers them well. She quite easily becomes your favourote character. Such is the case with Hailee Steinfeld who portrays Emily Junk, a Bella legacy. Steinfeld does a great job as the eager and excited freshman and newest Bella (not to mention her beautiful voice), breathing some new life into the Barden Bellas.
Some characters fans loved in the first film like Skylar Astin were pushed aside, and that was a bit upsetting to see — especially considering his role has Becca’s boyfriend (of three years, presumably). Even though some new characters added a bit of spark, not seeing enough of some familiar faces was a bit disappointing.
The major downfall of the film was the script. It was sub-par to say the least (check image below. Really?). I recently ventured into screenwriting myself for a side project, and I can’t begin to explain to you how hard it is to create a world faithful to its predecessor. But here, the writing is just way off. Other than a few lines (and some jabs at issues in America), the film is wholly unfunny and uninteresting. It just relies on things that worked in the first movie. But they are elements we’d seen before, and therefore quite unimpressive. Also, I could swear the writers are American Idol fans because of the repetition of lines like “show me who you are as an artist,” and “make it your own,” but that’s obviously not necessarily true.
Another thing I was disappointed in was the music. What made the former film so interesting musically was the fact that it took mainstream hits and delivered them in a fresh way: a capella. But in the sequel, the problem is that the song choices are far from mainstream. Now, that’s obviously not a bad thing, and a few known hits are in there, not to mention that everything is sung well, but if I’m going to watch you do a capella renditions of songs, I’d prefer it if they are songs I know. Otherwise, it just doesn’t amuse me. Granted, I bet a lot of people knew most of the songs well, but the point I’m trying to get across is that these songs are less mainstream, and honestly very safe and forgettable. The first movie had notable hits people rushed to download. I doubt that will be the case this time.
The pacing of the movie was bad. There were so many stupid and unwarranted subplots in there that made me grow more and more agitated as the film dragged. It honestly pains me to say that I was wishing it would end 45 minutes in.
I was really excited to see Pitch Perfect 2, but the sequel proved to be a boring disappointment. While a third installment is a big possibility due to the sequel’s gargantuan financial returns (UPDATE: Pitch Perfect 3 is happening.), I think that it would be two sequels too many. As ex-American Idol judge often said: “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”
Image Sources: comingsoon.net, eonline.com, feministing.com, zap2it.com, justjared.com, tumblr.com, ew.com