Pitch Perfect 2

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!

Stop now if you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect 2 and don’t want to be spoiled.

I watched Pitch Perfect 2 with my friend Song in the cinema on Monday. Why? Because Anna Kendrick is hot. We both loved the first Pitch Perfect, so we made a deal to watch the sequel together when it came out.

I preferred the first one. It was tighter, had more substance and the characters were more relatable. Anna Kendrick is just as hot in the second movie, but her character Becca was just weird. She was so different from the Becca in the first show. The plot of second show was a lot more messy, and there were a lot more cringe-worthy moments, starting with Fat Amy’s “big reveal” barely five minutes into the show.

Even the songs were weird, but that’s a matter of personal taste. I didn’t recognize or like most of the new songs in the show, although the final version of Emily’s Flashlight was quite nice. Not as catchy as Cups, but pleasant enough. Not enough to redeem the whole show though.

Okay, I’m rambling randomly. Let me systematically hit PP2.

Cringe-worthy moments
Like I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of cringe-worthy moments, a lot more than the first movie. Come to think of it, I can’t actually remember a single moment in Pitch Perfect off the top of my head right now (I re-watched the first movie the day before with my parents), whereas I can recall several from the second like:
-the opening performance (wayyy too many props and very unlike the Bellas)
-Fat Amy’s crotch reveal at said performance
-the performance at the old people’s place
-Every scene regarding Fat Amy’s and Bumper’s (very) forced and awkward romance
-Becca’s weird attraction to the DSM’s female leader
-DSM’s not very bright second-in-command
-the weird riff-off that felt like a rip-off of the original riff-off and which the host made me think of Balls of Fury

I could go on. I get that it’s a comedy/musical chick-flick, but the plot and character development could have used a lot of work.

Character Development
Becca – The first movie was about Becca and how she fit into the Barden Bellas and made them better. She kept to herself, but eventually became a natural leader. In the second movie, she spends most of her time interning at a record producing company, getting coffee and burritos for everyone else. It was so different! Even when she spent time at the radio station in the first movie, she kept actively trying to get her music on air. Not in the second movie. She just kept to herself until she spontaneously mashed up Christmas carols with Snoop Dogg and the boss had to ASK her for submissions. Also, Jesse could have been played up a lot more.

Chloe – Another major character shift here. Chloe was the voice of reason and encouragement to Aubrey’s controlling ambitiousness in the first film. Now she’s the one obsessed with winning? Another thing: How old is Chloe? How long has she been in Barden University? I’m assuming she was at least a third-year in an average four-year college course, and since PP2 took place three years later, Chloe has been at Barden Univeristy for SIX years. She also mentions she failed a subject several times just to stay in BU. Like, damn.

Emily – I’m not sure what was going on with Emily. The blossoming romance between her and Benji was sweet, but it could have been developed lot better. I would have liked to see less of Fat Amy-Bumper and more Emily-Benji. I felt like Emily should have been more of the focus of the show, but then again I guess it could be argued that it would have turned out to be like a Becca V2 (i.e. new member pops in, saves the group and makes it more awesome than it was before).

Overall Plot
I felt like there was too much going on with the show, right from the get-go. Their opening performance for the President of the United States was so bad, even I could tell. I mean, what happened? It was more of a circus act than an a capella performance.

The change in music style was very obvious as well. In the first film, there were a lot of memorable and recognizable songs. Sing-along-songs. In PP2, not so much. Maybe I’m not a music nut, but the number of songs I recognized and was able to sing along to is significantly greater than the number of songs I knew in the second movie.

DSM, the new antagonist, was also very… weird. Competitive I can understand, but downright mean and straight up rude was just overdoing it. They didn’t even have any wit. Their song style was also very military, with strong, rigid movements and sounds, but that’s only one angle. They had so much more diversity in the riff-off then in their performances. How could this have been Europe’s top a capella team?

I’m happy that Pentatonix made a cameo near the end, but it would have been fun to have them as an actual team in the show. Heck, they could have been the “villain” instead of DSM. It would’ve been so much more believable.

I must say I’m pretty disappointed with the whole show. It didn’t meet the expectations and the hype, and it lost its connection to its audience via relatable songs. It did have some cool new elements like a brief beatbox battle, an original song and bringing back generations of Bellas at the finals, but the rest… bleah. I hope they don’t make a third movie.

The first show was so much better, it was perfect.

Pitch perfect.

-Jace

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