Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Pitch Perfect 2’ Review: Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson & Brittany Snow

Two things are certain after watching Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to the 2012 surprise cult classic Pitch Perfect: 1) It’s not as smart or as good as the first and 2) Rebel Wilson is a comedic genius that makes any movie better.

The Barden Bellas are back and many of them in their senior year of college. After a truly embarrassing performance at the Kennedy Center where Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) accidentally mooned the entire audience where the President and First Lady were present, the Bellas returned to campus with a Capella commentators Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) threatening to suspend them. Beca (Anna Kendrick), who has put her internship at a legit recording label ahead of her commitment to the Bellas, suggests that if they win the International a Capella Championship in Copenhagen that they should be reinstated. After a few laughs and giggles Gail and John agree.

With major competition ahead against German a Capella group Das Sound Machine, the Bellas must reconnect as a group and find their voice again in order to win the championship. But with graduation just around the corner, Beca is struggling to live her dream working at a record label, Chloe (Brittany Snow) is petrified of life outside college and the Bellas, and Amy is still secretly swooning over hook-up buddy Bumper (Adam DeVine), the ladies have several distractions that are preventing them from getting back to the top.

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Elizabeth Banks steps up to direct her first feature length film and she provides a solid sequel. But the first film is so good and memorable that it seems almost impossible for any director to step up to the plate and make the sequel better than the first.

Kay Cannon returns to write the screenplay but she gives much less for Beca (Kendrick) to do. Beca and boyfriend Jesse (Skylar Astin) barely had any time together which is a shame because their relationship was so well developed and genuine in the first film. It’s no secret that Kendrick has a rockin and gorgeous voice and she definitely had her time to shine in the film but other than that it seemed like she was just going through the motions not nearly having as much fun in this one as she did in the first. Also, what happened to badass Beca? Her Beca here seemed much more awkward and unsure of herself, which was definitely a strange transition especially having just re-watched the first film.

The major saving grace of the film is Rebel Wilson, who Banks and Cannon give ample screen time to. The Australian actress is absolutely hilarious and reprises her role as Fat Amy perfectly. It seems like Wilson could take any ordinary line and make it her own and memorable. The best scene in the movie features Amy serenading Bumper and I haven’t laughed that hard in a theatre all year.

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Pitch Perfect 2 has some sweet songs including the “Cups” reprise and the a Capella battle between the four groups is quite good, but nothing touches the final number in the first film featuring “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

If you’re a fan of the Pitches, absolutely see this film in theatres with friends to make it all the merrier. The Bellas are back in full form and fans of Rebel Wilson will be thrilled with how much she is highlighted throughout. Banks had a nearly impossible feat to match the originality and splendor of the first film, but her sequel is fun, silly and musically delicious.

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