Destined to be a summer smash no matter the critical reaction, Pitch Perfect 2 sees one of the previous films bit part players, Elizabeth Banks, step behind the camera for the first time. Showing a deft touch with the always fun musical numbers, Banks is surprisingly less successful with the zingers, but she's still made a fun sequel with some chuckle worthy moments.
The first Pitch Perfect came a little out of nowhere. Showcasing Anna Kendrick's many talents and introducing her charms as a leading lady certainly helped make it a sleeper hit, along with a deadly soundtrack - 'The Cup Song' has near 200 million views on YouTube.
Here, they don't change the formula a huge amount; the film opens with Fat Amy's vagina going viral and the Bellas' being banned from a national tour. The ban doesn't stretch to the world championships, however, which they plan on winning by beating a highly fancied German outfit. For any lads reading, this is pretty much the plot to D2: The Mighty Ducks, just with Iceland replaced with Ze Germans.
While the 'it ain't broke, don't fix it' aspect absolutely comes into play, there's not a whole lot else to this sequel that's new. Kendrick has less to do, her love interest has nothing to do, and scene stealer from the first one Rebel Wilson, struggles to match her laugh quota.
That said, as Pitch Perfect 2 moves along it somehow becomes more charming. A scene (which is ultimately pure padding) where the Bellas take on other groups in a 'sing off' is a highlight. The cameos come thick and fast, the energy peaks and it has easily the film's funniest moments.
Newbie Hailee Steinfeld seems to have been introduced to move the franchise forward as the rest of the ladies graduate from college. Steinfeld has a set of pipes on her if that is the direction they go, and her quirky freshman should offer plenty to play with going forward.
Fans of the original will lap it up, but there's no doubt it's lost a little of its original spark. That said, it's hard to be angry at a film that makes you smile so much.