3 years since their last outing and, this Summer marks the return of the Barden Bellas. There's fart jokes, Rebel Wilson being... well... Rebel Wilson and, of course, some new musical numbers. They're back, pitches.

There was something special about Pitch Perfect. No one could have ever predicted just how huge the film went on to become - one of the biggest and best surprises of 2012. There was a jovial, fun vibe to the exuberant premise and all the jokes and just seeing this acapella group rustle together as a team. It was a playful, fresh twist on the generic high school genre. It was, in truth, an underdog story - with Anna Kendrick's Beca as our underdog.

This year welcomes in Pitch Perfect 2; a weirder, not as humorous, but just as much fun, tongue-in-cheek sequel that, ultimately, suffers sequel-fatigue. The problem comedy sequels face is always recreating the magic and the laughs of their predecessors whilst trying to keep things fresh and, unfortunately, Pitch Perfect 2 is a prime example of this in action. That's not to say it's not a decent film though but there's just too much déjà-vu for the film's liking.

Opening in a similar vein to the first film, Pitch Perfect 2 begins with our Barden Bellas - now at the top of their game - performing for the President, up on stage. However, things take a rapid, gross-out change when things come to a halt with a cringey, embarrassing wardrobe malfunction for Wilson's Fat Amy. With a most displeased reaction, the Barden Bellas end their run; replaced by Das Sound Machine - a German group that tries to hard to be funny. With Kendrick's Beca drifting apart from the group with an internship at a record company, the group find a new recruit in Hailee Steinfeld's Emily and the Bellas are back to square one. Off to boot camp to learn to come together as a team once again, they must redeem themselves by training to win the World Championships - a competition no American group has ever won - or face suspension.
After the first 20 minutes or so, once the stage has been set and the new characters introduced, the film is quickly afoot and the story starts to take off a little. However, a lot of this just plays off of the first film and, of course, never quite works as well; starting to play to a familiar rhythm and becoming predictable. The premise is interesting but, with everything having been already been established, there's so little to work with and develop that it doesn't compel as much. It's hard to falter all the warmth and charisma of the ensemble and the catchy, energetic musical sequences but this was more style than substance, merely just a cash-grab - from Pitch Perfect's success.

That's not to say the film doesn't entertain because there's still a lot of good laughs on offer here. Fat Amy is, as expected, in great form and takes a lot of the best scenes for herself. Keegan-Michael Key, as Beca's Boss, really surpasses her though, as the funniest in the film. He's hilarious in every scene that he is in. It's just unfortunate we didn't get to see more of him because, between his jokes and Fat Amy, the jokes didn't always hit. Sure, there's a lot that do but there just seems to be too many missed opportunities here. There's a lot of stereotypical gags and references made which, once or twice, can draw a chuckle but we're continually beaten over the head with them - to the extent that it becomes cringey and, just not that funny.

As far as the acting goes, everyone does a great job. I've already mentioned how great Michael Key was. Rebel Wilson was being Rebel Wilson, the same as she is in every one of her roles. It was funny though. I didn't have a problem with her. I'm a huge fan of Anna Kendrick's. She was awesome in the first film and was just as good in this. It's just a shame we didn't get to see more to do with her job; that was a fun, interesting story arc. Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld was also a great, new addition to the team - really just kind of playing the same role as Kendrick did back in 2012 though. Everyone brought a lot of wit and humanity and charisma to the proceedings and there was veritable chemistry between them all.

In truth, if you loved the first film then there's no doubt that you're also going to love this one. What this sequel, ultimately, boils down to, however, is almost 2 hours of weird, heartwarming silliness. It's very identical to its predecessor, not sparkling as much, but it's still a decent, fun, competent Summer flick.

VERDICT:
For the most part, Pitch Perfect 2 hits the same beats as the first film and doesn't do much to boast any originality. However, it has enough wit and charisma is enough to win us over and make for a competent, fun successor.


About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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