Directed by Elizabeth Banks. Produced by Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks, Kay Cannon, Max Handelman, and Jeff Levine. Written by Kay Cannon. Release date: May 15, 2015.
I don't know if I can actually articulate my adoration for the first Pitch Perfect. Most of it boils down to me loving the music and finding it absolutely hilarious - two elements that completely overwhelm the several problems that one could find if they were to look into it even somewhat deeply. No, the characters aren't deep. Yes, the plot is formulaic and predictable. But the music is fantastic and the laughs-per-minute ratio is one of the highest I've ever seen. The first Pitch Perfect is in my top five favorite comedies of all time.
So, now we have Pitch Perfect 2, almost a carbon-copied clone of the first film. It's the Hangover 2 of this franchise, except that it's not one of the worst comedies ever made, like each installment of the Hangover trilogy is. Thankfully, Pitch Perfect 2 really is "more of the same," which means that it's very funny, has great musical segments ... and the rest of it doesn't really work all that well. Thankfully, the comedy and music still more or less make up for those flaws - although not quite as well as they did the first time around. Now we've seen the same film twice, and there's only so much we can take before it's just not fun anymore.
The plot sees the Barden Bellas - an all-female collegiate a cappella group - having an accident at one of their performances that's so embarrassing that it sees them banned from competing in future competitions. As the reigning champions, though, they're allowed to go to the World Championships, which if they win, they'll be reinstated. So, they have to overcome their differences, rediscover their sound, and win the World's against their new rival, Das Sound Machine, a no-fun German group, led by Birgitte Hjort Sørensen and Flula Borg.
So, yes, it's the same as the first film, which itself was just Stomp the Yard or Bring it On, but with a cappella instead of dancing or cheerleading. Last time, though, the characters were early in their college years. This time, they're approaching graduation. The only new Bella is Emily (Hailee Steinfeld). This might not seem like it's an important difference, but it is. Pitch Perfect 2 is about its characters coming to terms that this is likely the end, and that while their a cappella careers have been nice, there's more to life than that. There's a finality to the proceedings.
This idea is propelled forward the hardest by the group's de facto leader, Beca (Anna Kendrick), beginning to intern at a recording studio run by a condescending music producer (Keegan-Michael Key), whose scenes are some of the funniest in the film.