Pitch Perfect 2 was a pain to watch, especially for those like me who wanted to like it so bad. The first movie, while not a cinematic masterpiece, was decently charming. This time, however, the novelty of the “a cappella” theme was not enough to compensate for terrible writing and crappy direction.
The movie kicks off with a grand but disastrous performance by the Barden Bellas. Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) accidentally flashed her hoo-hah in front of the audience including no less than the US President himself. This leads to a performance ban for the Bellas, which will only be overturned if they win the World Championship Finals.
The conflict is pretty straightforward: they have to win the World’s amidst fierce competition. However, instead of focusing on the contest itself, the movie takes unnecessary detours by including nuisance side stories.
There’s Becca (Anna Kendrick) wanting to pursue her own career but keeping it secret from her group. There’s Fat Amy and Bumper getting too much screen time for their love story that didn’t feel genuine at all. Aside from a brief and cheesy campfire chat that explores how the Bella members are bound to move on after graduation, nothing much has changed about the characters.
It must also be noted how terrible Bella is as an organization when, after three years of implied success, they’ve recruited two new members, one of which is also a senior like the rest of the group. The Barden Bellas prides itself for being a sisterhood, a club that offers its members the best years of their lives, yet they don’t have the foresight for longevity that makes prestigious clubs last.
But the worst sin this movie has committed is the atrocity that is Flashlight. Anyone over the age of 13 who genuinely likes the song has some serious Basic Bitch Disease. Because floppy disks have been replaced by USBs and phone booths by mobile watches, metaphors for love which used to be of the “moon and sunshine” caliber have now been replaced by something even more handy. Like flashlights. Like motherfuckin’ flashlights. ‘Tang amuh.
I know the movie was meant to be ridiculous and to not be taken seriously. The lack of proper direction, however, made it hard for the audience — or at least for me — to grasp what the movie is ultimately about. Sometimes it attempts to just be outrageously funny (Fat Amy’s wardrobe malfunction and later, her lake performance for Bumper) and sometimes it attempts to tug at the heart (campfire scene). Unfortunately, it failed to focus on one clear objective which made those little attempts haphazardly executed.
Focusing on the World’s alone would have guaranteed a more coherent story. At one point, Benjie (Ben Platt) told Emily that they heard them “rehearsing 24/7.” Unfortunately we, the audience, didn’t.