Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

(On Cable TV, May 2016) The original Pitch Perfect was an all-too-rare surprise: A crackling good movie disguised under less-than-promising clothing. It not only featured a number of great performances (notably a career-best role for Anna Kendrick and a breakout turn by Rebel Wilson), but managed to hit, at least three times, a quasi-magical state of pure joy. All of this to say that it set almost ridiculous expectations for its rapidly inevitable sequel. To its credit, Pitch Perfect 2 does try to replicate much of its predecessor’s highlights. We get the signing performances, the banter between the characters, a joyous song battle, an underdog competition and some hilariously inappropriate colour commentary. Elizabeth Banks does well at the helm, and the vast majority of the first film’s cast is back for more of the same. It succeeds at being a breezy comedy, toning down some of the original’s weaknesses (there aren’t that many vomit jokes, for one thing, and the romance is far funnier here) and maintaining much of the charm. It even throws in some fan-service homoeroticism for good measure. Pitch Perfect 2 is not, however, quite as surprising nor quite as successful as the original—something that should be considered inevitable rather than disappointing. Those who liked the first movie should at least keep this in mind: the sequel is a decent follow-up and it should flow well in a back-to-back viewing.

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