14 May 2015

Perfect Pitch 2 - film review

From At The Movies, 7:40 pm on 14 May 2015

Pitch Perfect 2 - directed by Elizabeth Banks, starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Hailee Steinfeld.

The follow-up to the college a capella movie hit, Pitch Perfect finds all-girl vocal group, the Barden Bellas, at the top of the tree and singing for the President.

The group is scuppered by scandal and has to start again. They find themselves competing with an even more high-tech vocal group from Germany.

The lineup of the Bellas is the usual parade of freaks and geeks in this sort of movie. There’s uptight leader Chloe. There’s a Guatemalan refugee, a lesbian African American, a fat Australian girl, a Chinese girl who may do all the noisy beat-boxing on stage, but is inaudible off it, and of course there’s a sex-kitten.

On the sideline is a Greek chorus made up of two a cappella commentators, played once again by comedy veterans John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks. 

The disparate group’s travails… the comedy of Fat Amy and the snide judges... and the underdog battle between the Bellas and Das Sound Machine may seem to be the selling points of Pitch Perfect 2. And of course they are.  

But the trump card is still the singing – like when the group revisits one of the highlights of the first Pitch Perfect – the sweet simplicity of the old folk-song When I’m Gone.

The fact is that teen comedy and modern references and cool young actors and a pretty snappy script – all those things - will make a hit movie, whether it’s about world champion paper plane competitions, or the junior Olympics.  

But music - particularly pure vocal music - reaches the hairs on the back of the head, and when the Bellas rediscover their mojo and hit it out of the park at the end, I defy anyone not to simply go along with it.