Rated: PG-13 for innuendo and language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: May 15, 2015 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
This fairly well-paced sequel directed by Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 and TV's Modern Family) and again written by Kay Cannon (know for the successful small-screen 30 Rock) has a collegiate a cappella group (Barden Bellas) in an international competition which has yet to be won by a U.S. contestant (or at least all-girl singing group).
In the lively, capricious musical-comedy Pitch Perfect 2 (continuing the ascendance of this type of electric performances one of which having a five-way showdown having "songs about butts") starring the usually congenial, petite Anna Kendrick (End of Watch, 50/50) as preppy, but creative and aspiring music producer Becca, and Rebel Wilson as flashy, feisty 'Fat Amy' who damages the Barden Bellas reputation during an upside-down wardrobe malfunction while in the company of our current Commander-In-Chief.
Of course, a chance for redemption outside the U.S. (where they're banned) occurs against Germany's potent 'Das Sound Machine' with its prestigiously amusing headliners played by beauteous Birgitte Hjort Sorensen and Flula Borg with the former having some amusing clashes with Becca.
The supposedly inseparable Bellas has a new member to their sorority in Emily (an agreeable if underutilized Hailee Steinfeld of The Coen Bros.' True Grit who looks to blossom in the role if the enterprise gleefully surges on) who writes her music but sees the promise of an internship for Becca (who has to deal with an irksome sort endowed with smug sensitivity by Keegan-Michael Key) and the growing anxiety of Chloe (Brittany Snow) against the overly formidable European opponents.
This unoriginal but still not so predictable and witty follow-up (without the delightful underdog distaff appeal going for it) has its share of celebrity cameos, training sequences and sing-offs (one at a private party is sprightly entertaining, as well as mellifluous) while Cannon's plot-points ultimately don't have the dynamism that a crucial Copenhagen setting intends. Even with modishly intense consonance and cadences to entertain with quirky characters and approach to their music.
A learning, actor-friendly Banks and Cannon know how to fill the time between not so gratuitous jokes and wacky misconceptions as some of the target audience will like the restrained impression work of Hana Mae Lee and the go-getter in Alexis Knapp. All in a glossy, crowd-pleasing package to make the tagline of 'The Pitches Are Back' cleverly consolidated enough with mishaps and harmony to justify their comeuppance.
|Pitch Perfect 2||C||B||B-||B-|