I shall warn you now, Anna Kendrick will not come off well in this review. If you are a lover of the little songstress prepare yourself to feel defensive and most likely a little offended.
The film is of course a sequel and sadly like 95% of sequels (unless they are part of a trilogy or adapted from a volume of books by the same author) it really didn’t entertain like the first. I think it tried to. In that, I’m pretty sure the new Director and her team sat down and said, ‘whatever was good in the first one, let’s do that again but louder’. I think this will have been their to-do list:
1. A plot about the underdog. The Bellas were successful at the end of the last one so let’s bring them back down to rock bottom with something super shocking. Which leads to…
2. Fat Amy. She is by far the funniest character in the whole film so let’s make her part bigger and more outrageous, cue her flashing her ladies parts to POTUS in the first five minutes of the film.
3. A love story. Obviously Becca is blissfully happy with her man from the first film. Except she’s not, in fact they seem more like distant acquaintances now, with absolutely no chemistry, which makes you question whether they in fact did get together at the end of number 1?! Not forgetting Point 2, let’s make Fat Amy and Bumper’s weird “thing” a love story. Of course because they’re not the skinny people, let’s make it really over the top, hard to watch and when they kiss they have to look like something David Attenborough would commentate on.
4. Coming of age. Becca was our ‘young girl with a dream’ in the first one, so let’s bring in pretty little lamb Hailee (Becca #2). Also she is skinny so let’s have her falling for someone, but in an awkward and shallow way because this is a comedy.
5. Mash Ups. Nothing really to change here as it worked so well in the first. Let’s just pick different songs and bring in more professional Acapella groups. Which reminds me of our next point.
6. Offensive and racist remarks. Arguably what caused the most shock and shameful giggles in the first film were the comments from Acapella commentators John and Gail. So let’s bring in a German Acapella group, lots of comedy material in there and a chance for Americans to once again remind everyone else that they won the war.
7. Sisterhood. Always good to have a bunch of girls coming together, overcoming their differences and standing shoulder to shoulder as they rise to the top. In this case it was lying shoulder to shoulder at a retreat/boot camp and flying to Copenhagen to show them there Europeans what for.
And finally, because I did warn you and I don’t want to disappoint, Anna Kendrick. My main question is, is Becca meant to be miserable and self absorbed or is sulky all that Miss Kendrick can do? Her performances in these films remind me a little of why Scarlet Johansson ruined Lost in Translation for me, who wants to watch a practically adult woman do an impression of a simpering four year old for 90 minutes? Being able to sing is of course the main reason she is cast in this and a few other films (I am still struggling to forgive Emily Blunt and James Corden for making me watch ‘Into The Woods’), because it can’t be for her captivating performances that draw you in and inspire you to greater things. I thought I would give her a chance and watched an interview with her for Pitch Perfect 2. Oh. Dear. At one point she forgot what film she was talking about and when she did remember, she pretty much said it was a naff sequel. This is part of your job Anna, I know there’s lots of press to talk to and they all ask the same questions but you’re paid millions, it’s part of your job, be a professional!
There are funny parts, the singing performances are good, Rebel Wilson is in it. I’m giving it a 5/10, because if the first one wasn’t there to compare it to, it might be worth a watch at home on Apple TV when you’ve got some mates round for a night in. But as we do have the first one, I’d say this was surplus to requirement.
All that said, I went with seven other ladies to see this at the cinema and they all seemed to genuinely love it, so don’t just take my word for it.