Grab your tuning forks, sequin vests and spirit fingers: the Barden Bellas are back to serenade us in Pitch Perfect 2.
The clever followup to 2012’s runaway smash Pitch Perfect, this sequel reunites the core acapella afficionados for their senior college year after their win at the national titles. The troupe suffer a global fall from grace during a gala performance, and are forced to claw back their dignity and permission to continue performing, by attempting to win the World Acapella Championships, a feat never achieved by a US team.
Sticking with what works, the film takes popular music and classic anthems and re-arranges them in both musically amazing and choreographically exciting numbers, woven through the established storylines of female friendship and the cut-throat world of acapella performance.
The main cast have returned, including Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Hana Mae Lee and Alexis Knapp. Popular Treblemakers Skylar Astin and Adam Devine are also back to contribute token testosterone levels to the cast. Australian audiences will be delighted with a bigger role for our very own Rebel Wilson, whose trademark self-deprecating comedy bring many laugh out loud moments through her role as Fat Amy, while Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins reprise their roles as the totally over-the-top and totally inappropriate US judges/commentators. Banks also takes on the role of director this time around, showing her deft comedic hand as a storyteller.
The epic Riff-Offs dazzle again with new group competitors, impressive cameos (including Katey Sagal) and a wave of new vocal and dance talent to give the girls a run for their titles. Relative newcomer Hailee Steinfeld is given an opportunity to show us her strengths, in the character of Emily, the newest Bella (and legacy recruit). Scripting is predictable, and if anything, a little less sharp than the original. Kendrick’s character is central to a more mature story thread and many of her (intended) gag lines fall flat. Wilson makes up for this with physical bravado and verbal wit, delivering most of the punchlines.
Full of the expected bitchy snipes, sassy comebacks and a good measure of over-enthusiasm, Pitch Perfect 2 delivers a harmonious extension to the latest wave of movie-musical franchises. A perfect night out with the girls.
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins
Release Date: 7 May 2015
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television