Back in 2012, Pitch Perfect, an all a capella singing (and a little bit of dancing) musical comedy became one of the biggest sleeper hits of the year, do-wopping its way into a space in post-Glee popular culture, and being quoted endlessly for my entire senior year of high school. Like anything that gives a hint of commercial success these days, a sequel has been plopped in front of us two-and-a-half years later, back to undoubtedly try replicate the success of the first time around. However, it’s unfair to meet it with such trepidation, like I did when I learned of the fact it was being made, because luckily, aside from having many of the same problems as the original, it’s actually pretty similar quality-wise.
All in all, it’s a pretty formulaic sequel, and one that doesn’t have much in the way of plot. With their newfound success, the Barden Bellas have lost themselves along the way, and have to reconnect to repair the group for the future, to reclaim their past glory before they graduate. It’s bigger, shinier, and travels multiple continents. But the greater amount of polish here does help more than hurt. Despite the bigger budget to play with, which has been funneled into an improved line-up of songs (the final competition number is something truly to behold), despite the smaller focus on the big competition itself, the continuous laughs of the original are still present (thankfully without a gross-out ongoing gag this time). Like the original, it loses some of its focus when trying plots not to do with the Bellas, running through a checklist of romantic interests. But it’s nevertheless just as fun and fresh as the original, Anna Kendrick (who has become somewhat of a 21st century movie musical star) and co. delivering all the lines, no matter how potentially problematic. You’ll be hard pressed to find a cast having more palpable fun on screen this year. Plus, the politically incorrect judges, played by Elizabeth Banks (who also directed the film) and John Michael Higgins, are back in fine form.