Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Rebel Wilson – Fat Amy (Patricia)
Anna Kendrick – Beca Mitchell
Brittany Snow – Chloe Beale
Alexis Knapp – Stacie Conrad
Hana Mae Lee – Lilly Onakurama
Ester Dean – Cynthia-Rose Adams
Hailee Steinfeld – Emily Junk
I was very geared up for Pitch Perfect 2, being a fan of the first one. So I sat down in the cinema, waited for the trailers to finish and got ready to embrace the return of the Bellas.
..when I exited the cinema, I honestly couldn’t feel more disappointed.
Pitch Perfect 2 wasn’t just a big disappointment, it was also very loose in terms of structure and story. The first movie saw the group of girls taking a journey – working towards their main goal of winning a singing competition, whilst discovering who each of them were. This second installment literally just throws a load of random jokes and disjointed scenes at its audience, then ends with a massive performance in which the Bellas sing a big collaboration. This finale creates a buzzy atmosphere and ends with a bang, but aside from the final song and dance I wasn’t overly entertained by the rest of the movie. I sat there thinking, “nice ending – but what the hell happened during the rest of the movie?..”.
Even the Bellas’ rival group Das Sound Machine are introduced as a huge threat – but then piss off and reappear again halfway through.
This movie focuses purely on one thing – the relationship between the girls themselves. It begins with the introduction of new group member Emily before moving on to various activities in which the girls bond. One such scene sees te Bellas go to a retreat camp where their old comrade Aubrey makes them take part in various group bonding exercises (the intention being to get their ‘sound’ back). This was the most random scene of the movie; the director livens up the screen with pounding musical action but then all goes quiet as the focus shifts to this retreat place and suddenly the girls are rolling around in mud, sleeping close-knit on the floor of a wooden cabin, and gently singing round a camp fire.
I sat there wondering what the point of all this was; it totally took the buzz of the movie’s concept away and started filling time with ‘campfire girls’ antics. The Bellas bonding was part of the story, but at the same time it lowered the atmosphere massively. I prayed it would get better and more entertaining..
I noticed the gags and one-liner’s in this movie seemed to be spoken, but not absorbed by the audience. Much of the humourous dialogue seemed to pass by quickly. One example is when Florencia (the ‘foreign one’) sits at the kitchen table in the Bellas house and pulls a gag about a tool used to preen a person’s vagina.
Silence from the audience.
Thing is, these moments continued – random lines the writers clearly found funny, but managed to go sorely unnoticed as the script dialogue continued and glazed over them completely. Fortunately, it was Fat Amy who managed to save the failing ‘humour’ as she steamed ahead of the rest of the female cast and had the audience laughing out loud just by standing on the spot looking stoned. Hats off to Rebel Wilson – the actress quite literally carried this entire movie, with her delivery of script, facial expressions and just by being – well – fat. Sadly, I think Rebel’s size is 80% of the reason audiences around the world find her funny. But her one-liner’s in Pitch Perfect 2 are brilliant and if she was not part of the cast, the movie would be like a sandwich with no bread. Completely incomplete. The opening of the movie is great fun, with Amy singing Wrecking Ball whilst hanging from a silk sheet – which quickly goes awry when she falls upside down and her tight outfit rips, causing her to show off her ‘down under’ lady parts.
This opening is colourful, musical, fun. And again, carried by Rebel Wilson as she remains firmly the cause of all humour. I actually thought it ironic, her singing “I came in like a wrecking ball”, because the actress literally does – coming in (more like a bowling ball in shiny black) and driving the movie forward with her fantastic screen presence.
Various characters deliver lines which – in any other comedy – would be funny, but they somehow flop spectacularly. Even the scene where Emily is introduced – words are spoken that you know could be hilarious, but just aren’t. The humour seriously misses the mark, all except Fat Amy.
Was the writer re-watching a dvd of Queer As Folk whilst penning the script for Pitch Perfect 2? Because during certain scenes, every other line consisted of homosexual / lesbian intent. When Beca first faces Kommissar (the female leader of Das Sound Machine), she clams up and is unable to retort to the German woman’s sarcastic comments. So she starts nervously spouting compliments about how attractive the woman is and how she smells so nice. Ok, cringeworthy stuff there – but it happens again later on. Beca faces the woman and openly admits that she finds her attractive and that she may be sexually confused. I found this lesbian crap highly irrelevant, wondering why the producers felt the need to include it. Again, the undercurrent of lesbianism had me wondering if the writer was watching a gay television drama whilst writing, inspiring him or her to chuck in these ‘moments’. It was just weird. And really wasn’t helping the movie’s already dwindling humour.
DSM – Das Sound Machine. A German musical group built like fucking steel robots. Pieter and Kommissar tower over the Bellas like actual giants, they’re quite a presence. The female of the two gives an effective performance for the minimal screen time she gets; she’s stern and looks as though she’s had way too much botox, but makes an impact as part of a rival group. Whereas the male half comes across as your classic camp idiot; flappy-wristed and looks like he’s sucking a lemon as he bitches at Fat Amy. The kind of guy who oozes bitchy attitude, but should just pipe down.
What I found surprising though, was the ending of Pitch Perfect 2. Because throughout the movie DMS (which confuses me as Das Sound Machine would be DSM, no?) remain a heavy threat who majorly outweigh the Bellas with their fantasically slick performances. Yet disappear as quickly as they made their entrance during the final scene.
A live outdoor competition known as the Worlds takes place, where the Barden Bellas and Das Sound Machine fight it out to win. And guess what? ..the Bellas win. Which obviously had to happen, but made the concept of Das Sound Machine look like a total waste of time. All that threat through the movie, and yet they’re knocked out of the contest instantly by a Bella medley which really wasn’t overly wow-ing. And you see them skulk away slowly, shaking their heads.
I honestly hate scenes like this in the movies; you know when you have a character who poses a huge threat – but slowly backs off at the end, defeated as though there really was no point him / her trying in the first place. I mean for fuck sake, at least put up a fight – or a middle finger!
The ending of the story Pitch Perfect 2 was a total washout, albeit ending on a high note with the girls performing a mix of Run the World (Girls), and Where Them Girls At.
Well. What a disappointment that was.
I don’t mean Pitch Perfect 2 was unbearable exactly, but it certainly didn’t live up to its first performance. Maybe it was a case of me being a bit too enthusiastic about the film’s arrival in cinemas, therefore it wasn’t as great as I anticipated – or maybe it just wasn’t that good.
During certain scenes where the girls were performing a song, I couldn’t tell if they were taking the piss or not – some of the tunes were so ropey, they didn’t come across as serious as they should have. And the movie was a bit too ‘songy’. The part where Fat Amy and Bumper break into a rendition of We Belong was bordering on the style of Grease. The same with other scenes, where characters sing at each other – a bit too cheesy for me and nothing like the style of the first movie. Perfect for theatre-goers though who enjoy a musical.
Maybe it’s wrong to compare a sequel to its first, but in this case Pitch Perfect 2 was crap. Very watchable, but it just didn’t pack as much of a punch as I’d hoped and although it ends on a high, it left me thinking back to the substance of the actual movie itself. It was lacking. And the diverse characters from the first installment who return for this such as Lilly (the almost-mute girl) and Stacie (overly sexual) seem to fade nicely into the background, which didn’t help.
Great for a wet afternoon when there’s nothing else to do. Just awful to sit down and think you’re going to be highly entertained.