ALL IN: Can the Barden Bellas sing their way back to the top?
More often than not, leaving the nest is easier said than done. Just ask team leader Becka (Anna Kendrick), who has decided to chase her dream of becoming a professional songwriter and record producer after leading Barden University’s dynamic all-girl acapella singing group, the Bellas, to three national titles. But flying solo for a change would mean putting her needs above the team’s – and at a time when the group is facing a moment of crisis. That’s the gist of Pitch Perfect 2, the whip-smart and superfunny sequel to the surprise 2012 hit musical comedy that did for acapella groups what Bring It On did for cheerleaders.
Once the squeaky-clean pride-and-joy of Barden University, the Bellas now find themselves on the rocky road to redemption after an over-the-top performance at the Kennedy Centre turned disastrous, snagging shameful headlines from the New York Post to CNN. But the girls are determined to bounce back after the catastrophe and set their sights on winning the World Acapella Champs – and finally getting the better of their aggressive German nemeses Das Sound Machine.
Will Becka put her solo dreams on hold for the benefit of her group? Can the Bellas find that winning formula to regain their place on top? The journey to the movie’s sizzling conclusion is fraught with high and low points (the musical numbers are dynamite; the dialogue is largely hit-and-miss) but it all makes for a wholly entertaining thrill ride.
Working with screenwriter Kay Connor, director Elizabeth Banks (the popular star of films like The Hunger Games) proves she’s a competent director of ensemble casts – and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more diverse group of actors than this, with the likes of Hailee Steinfeld (the Bellas’ new recruit), Rebel Wilson (the fire-starting Fat Amy) and Snoop Dogg (guesting as himself to record a Christmas album) rounding out the key players.
A zesty and relentlessly groovy blend of risk-taking, complicated human relationships, and tight vocal harmonies, Pitch Perfect 2 strikes a tuneful chord. Tyrone’s Verdict: B+