**Don’t want to read a long post? Scroll to the bottom for my video review!**
Will this be the most biased review to ever hit the internet? Probably. But I’m writing it anyway.
It’s pretty rare that a comedy sequel comes out that manages to be better than the original, and I thought “Pitch Perfect 2” did that pretty well. Mostly because it seems like they went with an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. As biased as I might be, it’s essentially the same movie – just with higher stakes, and an obvious increase in budget. That being said, there are a few things that make this sequel really stand out.
Before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk premise. The movie picks up 3 years after the first movie ended, so all the Bellas we fell in love with in the first movie are now seniors – with Aubrey having already graduated, and Chloe intentionally failing classes to stay a Barden Bella. The Bellas are at the top of the collegiate a Cappella food chain, when an incident happens which causes them to be banned from the ICCA’s. In order to get reinstated, the Bellas must compete in the World a Cappella Championships and win, something no team from the United States have ever done before. Though they have a lot of competition, their main rivals come in the form of German vocal powerhouse, Das Sound Machine. So the Bella’s have to gear up for graduation, as well as come together as a team fit for the title of “World Champions.”
The best part about this movies? All of the surprise cameos. Honestly, myself and everyone that was at the early screening with me were absolutely blown away by the sheer amount of cameos in this movie. There’s even a surprise collaboration in the movie, which is probably why the soundtrack’s track listing has been kept under such tight wraps. I can’t wait for everyone to see and hear said collaboration. Let’s just say that when it’s seasonally appropriate, I’ll have it on repeat.
Kay Cannon continues to be one of my favorite writers of all time. She was a writer on 30 Rock and she made New Girl actually funny (sorry New Girl fans, but that show is not my cup of tea. Tea isn’t even my cup of tea.) Homegirl just really knows how to write a script about female friendship – questionably, my favorite kind of movie. My absolute favorite thing she does is have the most sincerest of moments in a scene, then not even let you soak it in – she just undercuts it with something so shockingly hilarious, I absolutely adore that. It worked in the first movie, it works in this movie. I just wish that it worked in my real life, but apparently it just makes me rude.
Of course, a huge mechanic of both “Pitch Perfect” and its sequel are the musical performances. The performances in this movie are definitely taken up a level, although I will say that I wish the Treblemakers had more than one number. Actually, I wish the Treblemakers were more prominent in this movie in general – but I’m sure it would have made this movie much too long. There were a lot of great performance, including a multi-cultural take on Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” and a very interesting rendition of Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicioius” by none other than the Greenbay Packers. There were a few songs performed by the Bellas where you think, “In what world would they ever actually sing this?” Of course, it’s immediately followed up by that exact sentiment from one of the characters.
On being self aware, Rebel Wilson is the only Bella this go-around to have a featured solo in the movie. When it first starts, you kind of think the movie has gone full-on movie-musical and that Fat Amy has no idea that she’s singing. Nope, that’s just the amazing character they’ve built out of Fat Amy (yes, I know it’s really Fat Patricia.)
Of course, the Bellas need SOME reason to even want to be reinstated into the ICCA’s, which is why I’m assuming newcomer Hailee Steinfeld’s character Emily is in the movie as a freshman. She’s a great integral part of the movie, both individually and as part of the team. It’s fun to watch a team that has grown together over the past few years, with a character that was in the rest of the team’s position in the first movie.
Last but not least, I can’t write this review without mentioning Flula Borg. At the early screening I attended, it seemed that only my friends and I were excited to see Flula on the big screen. This is one of the reasons why I love Elizabeth Banks and the team behind Pitch Perfect, they’re not afraid to reach into the pool of abundant talent that is the internet. The greatest part of Flula’s role is that it wasn’t just a one-off so that they could put Flula in the trailer to appeal to YouTube audiences. He has a very prominent presence in the movie, and I loved it. This isn’t the first YouTuber to appear in the “Pitch Perfect” franchise, Jacob Wysocki of the Bath Boys had a couple memorable moments as Justin in the first movie.
Overall, I obviously was immediately enamored with this movie. It wasn’t a movie that tried to be more than it is, and it was so self-aware — which is something I really love in a film. I think it’s worth the watch in theaters (it’s not even out yet, and I’ve already committed myself to seeing it another 4 times – at least.) It’s also worth noting that it’s definitely worth watching after you’ve seen the first one, it’s almost comical the obvious differences in budgets the two movies had. It’s like this sequel is what the first movie could have been, had the studios really believed a movie about collegiate a cappella could do as well as it did. If this huge wall of text wasn’t enough to sell you, hopefully the fact that an Academy Award nominated person compliments another person on the appearance of their vagina with the most sincerity possible will.