By Bill Arceneaux
It’s not too hard to understand the heartwarming nature that watching teamwork on screen can produce. Through near unbeatable odds, circumstance after circumstance, burgeoning relationships and inner turmoil, a team can make it to the end all the better, and thus the audience feels part of that. It’s helpful if the team is made up of misfits, as we’re all different, right?
The above helps make up the Mighty Ducks formula. While it didn’t necessarily originate with that movie, it sure is synonymous with it and every team competition film that came after. It’s a standard rule of thumb that is rarely broken as it, for the most part, works at the basest levels possible.
Pitch Perfect 2 uses this routine to a T, without advancing it or changing it in any way. Thus, it comes off as a Mighty Ducks sequel—which, still, isn’t technically all that bad, just not something you’d want to be compared to.
Admittedly, I did not see the first Pitch Perfect, though I do have some interest in it now. Remembering the trailers, it seemed to be very fun and heartfelt, mostly an excuse for good singing and silly college anecdotes. No harm, no foul. The sequel reinforces this assumption, as the girls get into wacky shenanigans and sing pop songs. Other than a campfire scene where the characters lay out their fears, there is no real arc here, either individually or collectively. I suppose the journey from their opening loss to the battle at the World competition is the arc, but the stakes are pretty bare and uninteresting.
Rebel Wilson gets the spotlight, as the comedy mostly rests on her shoulders. Not completely, as each a capella teammate gets their moment in the sun, but 85 percent of the time, we’re laughing at something Rebel did or said. And she’s great, no doubt about it. But why not make her the focus if you’re going to rely on her the most? Clearly, they were only going for a team movie at its most superficial, so having a clear lead would’ve helped guide things along nicely.
Without anything to grab on to but the music (which is wonderful) and the comedy (which borders on edgy and full blown tasteless from time to time) Pitch Perfect 2 is merely Mighty Ducks sequel level entertainment. It’s a digression of a diversion for the characters and the audience, providing nothing more than a nice tune here and there. And you know what? That’s OK.
The girls have great chemistry with each other, coming off as if they really are good friends. When they compete alongside one another, it feels nice. Feeling nice is all this movie has to offer, I’m afraid. And if that’s all a movie has to give, that’s still not too bad.
2.5 / 5 *s
For more from the author, follow him on twitter @BillReviews and visit his new site criticalno.com.