I never wrote a review for the first Pitch Perfect. It was a fun little film in the vein of other girl power films such as Bring It On and A League of Their Own but by no means did I ever believe it would gain the cult following it did. Well it is a good thing I never wrote that review because if I had then it would have just been a simple copy and paste job into the review for its plainly named sequel, Pitch Perfect 2. It is nothing but a carbon copy of the first film which may or not be a good thing depending on your expectations. Read the full review after the break.
In some ways it is smart making the sequel using the exact same story and exact same characters since it worked the first time. Why mess with a good thing right? The characters cover just about all the stereotypes one would expect. You have the pretty blond (Brittany Snow), the fat funny girl (Rebel Wilson), the quirky Asian girl (Hana Mae Lee), the lesbian (Ester Dean), the hip girl (Anna Kendrick) and of course the new girl (Hailee Steinfeld). What would stereotypes be without a stereotypical underdog story which not only lifts every single story beat from the previous film but actually has the arrogance to add almost nothing new to the mix.
The Barden Bellas were disgraced and at an all time low in the first film until Anna Kendrick joined and used her radical new style of music mixing and choreography to bring them back from the depths of a-cahella (see what I did there?). In the sequel the Barden Bellas have had a 3 year streak of wins until a mishap occurs that leaves them at an all time low (and Rebel Wilson's unmentionables hanging high and free for all to see) until Hailee Steinfeld joins the group and uses her radical new idea of performing original music instead of covers to bring them back from the depths of a-cahella once again.
Recycling ideas, characters and story elements isn't an immediate nail in the coffin but it is extremely lazy and makes watching this particular sequel feel just a bit too familiar at times. Luckily the same thing that made the first film such a fun little flick, namely the music, has returned as well and saves the day. While the story is more or less a retread the music is new at least and the performances are full of energy and pep. The best scene in the entire film is this strange contest at a rich guy's home (played with great zest by David Cross) which is no real shocker when the best scene in the first film also took place at a contest where they face off against their latest nemesis the German a-capella group Das Sound Machine whom have taken the place of the first film's evil a-capella group the Treblemakers.
Fans of the first film will likely eat this sequel up since it is tailor made to appeal to that exact same crowd. There is really no safer way to make a sequel other than to make the same movie a second time. Sadly that only benefits anyone at the time as a couple years down the road most will look back upon the film as nothing more than what it is, a retread that relies way too heavily on the natural chemistry between all its lead actors and a soundtrack that easily outclasses everything else the film offers up. If you are looking for more of the same then Pitch Perfect 2 will satisfy but if you were looking for a true evolution for these characters and their story there is little satisfaction to be found.
I enjoyed Pitch Perfect 2 but I can already tell that I most likely won't remember it like I did with the first film. If they make another one (which after the massive success of the sequel seems like a no-brainer) they really need to deliver something different because when you keep feeding people the same thing over and over again sooner or later they start eating less and less with each new plate.