Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, Keegan Michael Key

Pitch Perfect 2 is the same entertaining song, second verse. They might’ve taken this opportunity to change up the tune a bit, but why mess with what works? Sure, this means there’s little surprise, and the same problems also repeat. However, just like the original, the jokes are very funny, and the singing is a blast.

Kendrick and the Barden Bellas are still out to win a great a capella singing competition with the cards stacked against them. Like the first, Kendrick is keeping a secret. Wilson is still trying to get it on with any man she can convince. The group still has control and bonding issues.

It’s four years later – most of the Bellas we love are on the cusp of graduating and finding their ways in the world. This is their last chance for singing glory. Kendrick is still struggling to arrange their mash-ups. Along comes a new singer/songwriter – Steinfeld of True Grit – to infuse a little new blood and possible another style.

Their major competition is a very tall German gang calls Das Sound Machine – part Kraftwerk, part Nazi youth group.

John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks are back as the crass commentators; Banks shows herself a credible director in her debut full-length film.

John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks are back as the crass commentators; Banks shows herself a credible director in her debut full-length film.

The songs the Barden Bellas sing – that everyone sings – are still the best part. A capella is a weird and wonderful world full of geeky and obsessed people who create magic. Maybe because of the respect for the art, PP2 never pokes fun at singing and the songs.

Everything else is open for lampooning. Unlike the first part, Pitch Perfect 2 knows full well that it’s a comedy – no tender moments here without also slipping in a fart joke. The rest of the flick finds laughs in inappropriateness. There’s more sex and sexual confusion. There are also gags about nationality – the Germans are so easy to make fun of… This film has more vagina jokes than you could shake a conductor’s wand at. Many of these back-to-back goofs are very funny.

Of course some of the funniest bits are by the commentators – Higgins and Banks – who seem to be at every competition, making culturally insensitive comments and over-sharing about their personal lives.

Also, there are some wonderful cameos – Easter egg casting throughout the film.

The biggest surprise here, though – within a film lacking in surprise – is Banks. After director Jason Moore left due to schedule conflicts, the actress-turned-producer stepped in to helm the film – her full-length debut. Even with the choppy script, Banks has a sure hand on timing and editing. She gets great performances out of everyone. All of her staging moments – especially the end – are joy filled and even awe-inspiring.

Ratings Key

See it now! Buy the DVD! Quote lines at parties!

Definitely worth the price of admission

It’s useful as a distraction

Maybe if someone else pays and you need a nap

Slightly worse than eternal damnation

With Banks leading the group, this film finally taps into all its potential girl power. There are no women talking about men constantly; not a one of them defines herself by her relationships. Both in and out of the group, Kendrick is a professional artist capable of great things. Altogether now; that makes Pitch Perfect 2 a Hollywood film completely devoid of sexism. Shocking!

Sure, it’s reductive and repetitive – that’s a big part of the art of pop culture. The mayhem and music of Pitch Perfect 2 make this a tune worth putting on repeat.

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