Pitch Perfect 2 Fails to Resonate with Fans

Pitch Perfect 2 Fails to Resonate with Fans

The heavily advertised slogan “the pitches are back” is muttered with an irritated sigh instead of excitedly shrieked.

Universal Pictures’ Pitch Perfect 2 is a more mediocre version of the first film, which seemed to please moviegoers; the sequel grossed nearly 70 million dollars its opening weekend, while Mad Max: Fury Road grossed a comparatively small 45 million.

As in the first film, the Barden Bellas are recovering from an embarrassing national incident. This time, the incident involved offensive, indecent exposure in the presence of the Obamas. As punishment, the once glorified a capella group is removed from their national tour and banned from holding auditions and competing in the United States.

However, loopholes are inevitably found. The Barden Bellas are promised the reinstatement of their group if they win the world championship, though no American team has ever won because, as announcers John (John Michael Higgins) and Gail (Elizabeth Banks) put it, “the whole world hates us.” A second loophole arrives in Bella legacy Emily Junk (Hailee Steinfeld) when she begs for an audition at the Bellas’ doorstep.

The a capella group, led by Becca (Anna Kendrick) and seventh-year college student Chloe (Brittany Snow), set out to win the world championships but have difficulty “finding their sound”. In preparation, they are invited to a “riff-off” hosted by a peculiar David Cross.

Sound familiar? There they face other groups, including the Treble Tones, the actual Green Bay Packers offensive line, and the intimidating German group Das Sound Machine, who stole their national tour. The Bellas lose when Emily panics and begins to sing her own original song instead of a cover.

Meanwhile, Becca secretly begins an internship at a prestigious record company, afraid of the reaction this life change will evoke. She is the only member of the group who is ready to move on after college. Her talent earns her recognition, but her confidence is shaken when she learns her mashups will never progress her career. She joins forces with songwriter Emily to create a more original sound and impress her boss.

The plot of the sequel is nearly identical to the original, only less developed. It revolves around the world championships. The question is not so much where the story is moving as much as when. By the time the Bellas get to Copenhagen, I found myself wishing it was over.

Performances, musical and otherwise, lacked genuine energy and believability. Musical numbers were over-choreographed, at times purposefully so. The only speck of heart came from newcomer Hailee Steinfeld. She was truly and appropriately the “flashlight” leading disappointed fans through the darkness of a disappointing sequel.

Comedically, Pitch Perfect 2 was at most mildly amusing. The better jokes were overpowered by frequent mediocre and sometimes distasteful lines. In reference to Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and her exposing incident, humor was borderline offensive and detrimental to the cultural progression of gender equality and body image.

As a movie-going experience, Pitch Perfect 2 is not all bad, but the numerous negative aspects overshadow the highlights, like the large number of celebrity cameos. Expectations were too high, which is clear from its box office success. Super-fans will almost surely leave the theater with a bad taste in their mouths.