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|Pitch Perfect 2|
dir Elizabeth Banks
scr Kay Cannon
prd Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks, Max Handelman, Jason Moore
with Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Ben Platt, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Anna Camp
release UK 15.May.15
15/US Universal 1h55
Uh oh, we're in trouble: Snow, Kendrick, Wilson and friends
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
It would be impossible to recreate the surprise of the first film, but this sequel is another rare comedy overflowing with genuine wit and exuberance. Its plot might be simplistic, but the range of characters and rapid-fire, joke-packed dialog make it just as much fun. And in her feature directing debut, Banks proves adept at finely balanced humour.
In the past three years, Beca (Kendrick) has led the Bellas to three more National Championships, but a triumphant performance for the US President goes spectacularly awry, so the team is suspended. Their only hope is to win the World Championships, held once every four years, and reclaim their glory. Competition is fierce from the fearsome reigning champs Das Sound Machine. A new singer (Steinfeld) adds a fresh voice to the Bellas, while stalwarts Fat Amy (Wilson) and Chloe (Snow) really need to join Beca in thinking about their future after graduation.
The film's narrative weaves together vague strands of personal drama and romance alongside the run-up to the competition. There isn't one surprise along the way, but the cast and crew more than make up for the lack of tension with characters who never cease to amuse us. Each line of dialog has a joke tucked into it. Scenes snap with improv-style energy, providing the unpredictability the plot lacks. And the central characters even get to take mini-journeys that have a hint of meaning.
Kendrick is effortlessly engaging as the rather frantic Beca. Some of her awkwardness falls flat, but Kendrick makes up for it with her electrical screen presence, which bridges the film's inane comedy with its more emotional sentimentality. Wilson charges through every scene, mercilessly chomping on scenery in increasingly hilarious ways while getting a goofy rom-com storyline of her own. Snow feels oddly sidelined this time, but Steinfeld shows plenty of promise to lead a next generation of Bellas.
As a director, Banks keeps the energy high, the pacing snappy and the musical numbers massively entertaining. As in the first film, the singing works better in offhanded battles (here it's an underground a cappella club) than in the on-stage competitions. Also like before, this film is stolen by ace comedy commentators Banks and Higgins. Their riotous patter, along with the script's dense humour and a stream of big-name cameos, make this another film that will improve every time we watch it.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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