Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect 2

Remakes and sequels seem to be al Hollywood has to offer these days.  I was late to the party with the original movie, Pitch Perfect, but loved it when I did see it.  I look back now at Twilight and reflect on how well Anna Kendrick has done for herself.  She beat Kristen Stewart to an Academy Award nomination and given Stewart’s body of work, that’s no small feat.

The movie doesn’t quite start out where we left off, but it does have the beloved Barden Bellas performing for President Barack Obama in the opening.  The trailer gives away what happens and the Bellas are forced to go to drastic measures to reinstate themselves into the annals of acapella groups.  The story doesn’t drive the movie as much as the characters do.  As with any sequel, the returning characters are paired with newcomers.  That might be the only detraction I had.  When Glee started cycling old characters out for new ones, I felt like the show slowed down and in some cases, that was true in Pitch Perfect as well.  After the Bellas get in trouble, they aren’t allowed to take in new members, but a legacy member (a child of a former Bella) can audition and be accepted.  It is this character that is the lynchpin for the story and is the only predictable element of the story.

I won’t ruin the story, which is hilarious from start to finish.  The jokes are fast and furious and if you’re not paying attention, you will miss some real gems.  While the songs aren’t as catchy, the return of “Cups” and the original song sung at the end of the movie are both fantastic.  There was also a wonderful moment, while watching, that I realized that romance nor men were taking center stage in the movie and I was emboldened by it.  This isn’t a feminist movie, by any means, but it does deliver some pop to Hollywood.  This is the first recent movie I can remember that is helmed by a female director with an almost all female cast and few men, or one of the few featured being quite the misogynist (played perfectly by John Michael Higgins).  The fact that this is all secondary to a strong movie, a multi-talented cast, is what is that much more stunning.  There is no reason to stop and think about this, but there it is.  Perhaps Hollywood will take note that Pitch Perfect outdueled Mad Max and Avengers this weekend and give women more of a chance to stand on the same stage.

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