First off, let me start by saying that I really enjoyed the first Pitch Perfect. However, I'm always a little leery of comedy sequels, especially when they come out so soon after the original. Is this a cash grab or do they really have a story to tell?
Unfortunately, Pitch Perfect 2 feels like something from the cash grab category. There just wasn't anything new here, just recycled material that was done better in the first. To illustrate, they didn't bother to expand on the existing cast, giving them even less to do this time around. Instead, they added more characters that also had nothing to do (with the exception of Hailee Steinfeld). Just look at the poster. See how the girl in the front looks a little off, like the scale and perspective doesn't match? It's as if she wasn't actually in the original picture and then they photoshopped her in. Her presence in the film felt about as photoshopped in. It also bugs me that the original antagonist is given almost no screen time, when he was one of the best things about the first. The only good addition was Keegan-Michael Key. He needs to be in everything.
It bugs me that they seemed to forget what made the first film so fun. They also forgot the core of the frigging movie. A capella means no music, something that was pointed out quite a bit in the first film, yet it's completely forgotten here. The first few performances were punctuated by a backing musical track, making it just a musical performance, not an award winning a capella group. I also find it weird that there's no stand out singer in the group. No, Anna Kendrick does not count. There's nothing wrong with her voice, but I don't see her as a powerhouse singer.
Then, there are things in the story that just don't make any sense. Like why does Beca have a secret internship? She's about to graduate, so it makes sense that she'd be trying to get some work experience, especially in the music industry (which seemed to be her goal even in the first film). Why the secrecy? If they're not thinking about the future, then why are they going to college? Just to hang out and sing? This does come out later in the film with pretty much the expected outcome (after they are mad at her first, for no legitimate reason). Oh jeez, I guess we need to move on with our lives. Duh! I hate when I see character behavior in film that isn't consistent with what I see in real life, or "drama" that could be avoided with a two minute conversation. Like it takes Fat Amy three years to figure out she's in love with Bumper. Really? Three whole years?
I'm curious as to why they'd hand the reigns to Elizabeth Banks to direct the sequel. Does she have directing experience that isn't on her IMDB page? Seems like a risky move and I don't think it paid off at all. They couldn't have paid a few extra bucks to bring Jason Moore back?
It's not completely terrible. There were at least a few funny parts, but it's definitely a big step down from the first. If you're a huge fan, I suppose there's enough here to warrant a matinee, but otherwise this is a rental, or even wait for streaming.
2 (out of 5) Death Stars