Pitch Perfect 2 falls into the trap of failed sequels. While the story picks up for Beca’s (Anna Kendrick) senior year, the Barden Bellas find themselves trying to fix their reputation after an unflattering performance video goes viral again. Once more, characters struggle with rivals, teamwork, and love interests. But whereas Pitch Perfect captured a genuine humor, Pitch Perfect 2 had a series of forced jokes and predictable plot.
Crude Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and quiet Lilly Okanakamura (Hana Mae Lee) repeat the same-spirited jokes. However, their lines aren’t as consistently funny as the first movie, but excessive and boring. Even with new on-going jokes in Pitch Perfect 2, like Beca’s inability to insult a competitor because of her distracting beauty, flop. The script pacts in so many jokes that it’s a simple case of quantity rather than quality.
Then there’s the guest stars. Appearances ranging from President Obama to Snoop Dog attest to the original’s success. Again, every minute tries to pack so many jokes and surprises that it’s messy. While the performances are intentionally exaggerated and ironic, to fit with the storyline, there’s no cleverness in the humor.
Sequels try to attain the same success of the first movie by essentially remaking it. The Barten Bellas face an international competitoin, unheard of in the first film, rather than a collegiate-level. When there’s a sequel hook, like in Back in the Future, audiences want to see Marty and Doc in the future. After Pitch Perfect, the movie ended with new auditions but viewers could be confident in the Bella’s future and Beca’s relationship. And so, the sequel just spun old drama into new.
Nevertheless, Pitch Perfect 2 did manage to hang on to some of the original’s magic. The a cappella mashups will make for a successful soundtrack. A cappella podcast announcers return with their politically-incorrect commentary. While audiences can still applaud Pitch Perfect for female leads and a range of humor, not usually given to women casts, Pitch Perfect 2 will live in the shadow of the original’s success. The sequel surpassed the total gross of the original, but you may want your money back.