Unlike its predecessor, “Pitch Perfect 2” does not contain any graphic vomiting scenes (though there are a couple of fart jokes) for which alone, I consider it better than the first movie. The sequel shares most of the same ingredients: fat jokes, nonstop cattiness, female bonding, lots of song and dances, plus of course, messages about sticking together through the down times, taking risks even in the face of derision, and staying true to oneself and one’s gifts.
In this one, the Barden Bellas are humiliated in an opening scene when they perform at Lincoln Center (also “attended” by President Obama on his birthday), and Rebel Wilson suffers a wardrobe malfunction, which is dubbed “Muffgate” by the media. After that, they are replaced on their victory tour (presumably quite different from the victory tour in director Elizabeth Banks’ other movie), by a German group called Das Machine. They also are promised to have their honor restored, if they win a big international competition which no American has ever won before. Can you guess what the climax is going to be?
I once saw a “Saturday Night Live” sketch which I remember only dimly, but the gist was that it was about a hippieish guitar player whose cover tunes were a big hit with his audience, but when he attempted to play an original song, was met with hostile silence, finally broken by Molly Shannon’s character who, responding to the fact that he made it up, responded, “We hate that.” I was reminded of this during the movie, as in one scene, there’s a cappella showdown, including the Bellas, and someone makes the error of being original, and is met with pretty much total disgust by everyone present. However, it turns out that new member and Bella legacy, Hailee Steinfeld’s talent for original songwriting will not only help Anna Kendrick get her snooty record company internship boss (Keegan-Michael Kay) to let her do something besides fetch coffee, it may also be key to the Bellas getting their groove back at the Big Competition.
The gang all returns for this one. John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks play the catty co-hosts of the singing competitions, and Snoop Doggy Dog makes a cameo as himself. Skylar Astin plays Anna’s love interest and head of another a cappella group on campus, but he doesn’t have very much to do. The relationship that gets the most screen time is that between Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy, and campus security guard Adam DeVine. This storyline ends with an over-the-top scene in which Rebel rows across a lake (though it’s obvious that the boat doesn’t move at all), belting out “We Belong” by Pat Benatar. This is done kind of tongue-in-cheek because at one point Rebel stops to cross a street and scolds the driver of a car for interrupting her solo.
Toward the end, the Bellas decide to go on a retreat headed by their former a cappella leader, which results in lots of montages, mud wrestling and not one, but two mishaps involving bear traps. Then it’s on to the showdown. Since all the main Bellas are graduating in this movie, I guess a sequel would have to focus on an entirely new group. Which would be something I would go see, as long as least one member of the original cast made a cameo.