Lemme say up front that I liked this movie. The review might not reflect that, but you know I would rather pick at the negatives. It’s my Korean genes.
Despite being a Gleek from day one*, I came late—enthusiastically, but late—to the Pitch Perfect party. As I mentioned in my review of the first movie, the three things that I liked best were Fat Amy, the songs, and the college setting.
I must reluctantly state that PP2 gave me too much of one and not enough of the other two, despite the five or so plotlines running through this film. Let’s start with that—there’s a lot of story, including:
1. The Bellas trying to redeem themselves by winning Internationals.
2. A new member of the Bellas trying to break out of her Legacy label.
3. Said Bella having a little fling with Benji
4. Fat Amy continuing a not-so-little fling with Bumper
5. Beca’s attempts to become a bona fide music producer
I once heard that there are only three plots in film**: fish-out-of-water, boy meets girl, and the Jesus story. IMO, PP was classic fish-out-of-water (Beca joins and then transforms the Bellas) with a bit of boy meets girl thrown in. But I’ll be darned if we don’t have one of two versions of all three plots in PP2 and not nearly enough singing/performing. There’s a version of a riff-off (featuring possibly the most random Green Bay Packers reference ever), and some good competition sets, but too many of the Bellas’ songs were throwaways to demonstrate how they’d lost their way. I found myself cheering for Das Sound Machine because those Germans were am punkt (on point).
As with PP, Fat Amy and Lilly seemed to exist mostly to throw out comic non sequitirs. PP2 added a third such character, Flo. Don’t get me wrong—I laughed. Hard. But we were dangerously close to “too much of a good thing” territory. I would rather have had more fish out of water. Or songs featuring drinkware. Or information on what happened with the Jesse/Beca ‘ship. But in the words of one of the great modern philosophers, you can’t always get what you want.
(I hope the next one involves DSM *and* robots.)
* May 19, 2009!
** Serious cinephiles, CALM DOWN.