Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfield, Brittany Snow, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Cert: 12A Running Time: 115 mins
Release Date: May 15th 2015
Pitch Perfect 2 is like the ‘90’s hip hop jamz’ in one of its key a capella battles in the movie – catchy, cool, throw-back, head-bopping timelessness. Stuffed to the seams with great tunes, funny lines and a sparky cast, it never takes itself too seriously and so delivers the high notes when it comes to entertainment.
A hit in 2012, it earned $113 million at the international box office off a production budget of just $17 million so it was no surprise that the Barden Bellas would soon be warming up their vocal chords again.
This time around Elizabeth Banks (who exec produced and starred in the first film) makes her directorial debut and she knows where the comedy strengths lie in the cast. With returning writer Kay Cannon, they’ve upped the Rebel Wilson factor, even giving her a love interest and a lot of the funniest scenes belong to her and rightly so. Pointing out to the other girls that though she’s part of the American team, she’s the best singer and an Australian, she adds ‘I’m fat and that’s close enough”.
This time around the girls are again on the back foot, having put in a nationally shaming performance in front of the US President after Fat Amy (Wilson) has an unfortunate onstage wardrobe malfunction, giving him full view of what she has down under. The Bellas are suspended from their ongoing victory tour only to be replaced by the European champions Das Sound Machine, a slick, syncopated, German troupe of singers with laser harmonies and the moves to match. Their only hope is the World Championships in Denmark with new Bella member Emily played by Hailee Steinfield, who brings a nice quirky awkwardness to her new recruit.
There are jokey stereotypes (the impoverished Guatemalan immigrant, the Asian horror freak, the tough lesbian, the emotionless Germans) and though not all these jokes land quite as they should, they are saved by the run of funny lines from Gail (Banks) and her co-commentator, John (a deliciously dry John Michael Higgins). They are the pros here when it comes to delivery, from a very funny Gail who feels she has to be ‘on’ all the time to John’s hilariously sexist remarks. When the girls are despairing over their suspensions he tells them not to worry they’ll all be pregnant soon anyway.
A side story of Beca’s (Kendrick’s) internship at a local recording studio doesn’t really go anywhere but cameo scenes with Snoop Lion are funny as well as the berating of a hipster nephew by the boss.
A funny feel good movie that will having you humming The Thong Song and other 90’s jamz. Nothing wrong with that!