Pitch Perfect 2
An entertaining piece of fluff that had a few laughs, but lacked the heart of its predecessor. With Elizabeth Banks at the helm, this felt like a very extended and highly unfocused MTV medley.
Banks directorial debut definitely helped saved cost, but the results was a poorly and messily directed movie especially during the choreographed bits. When the "action" slowed down, Banks was able to focus better.
However, the script by Kay Cannon was no better. There were one or two smart quips and asides, and genuinely funny moments courtesy of Rebel Wilson, but most of the laughs were cheap and mildly offensive - taking stereotypical, cheap digs at culture, race, gender and sexaulity. Just because there are a few laughs at yourself - "America" - does not make this smart, self-aware or satirical.
Furthermore, Cannon and Banks - and all the other producers - had decided to do what sequels are prone to do: bigger, louder and more, more, more! Throughout most of the movie, it felt like a mash-up of MTVs interspersed with some slapstick comedy.
Also, too many unnecessary scenes that dragged out the timing that served no purpose other than "let's add more music to the mix!".
If only more people followed the apparently unpopular choice of Joss Whedon and Avengers: Age of Ultron and made a sequel that dealt more into characters.
Banks must have gotten notes from Ryan Murphy (although she thanked in Shonda Rhimes - no big difference - in the credits), because ultimately this felt like the final three seasons of Glee: "I don't care about the process, just let me know how it all ends!".
In Pitch Perfect, we were at least invested in the story and Anna Kendrick's character's journey, but in this sequel, the investment was negligible. Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld's character was ostensibly not developed because she was not The Star. Even Kendrick's own storyline seemed out of place and interrupted the flow of the whole narration. Its only purpose seemed only to provide conflict and resolution, oh and to give Becca "purpose - which we then don't immediately care about anymore.
Kendrick is charming and very likeable, but here, she really was just going through the lines and singing the notes. Although at least she was more covered up than in the first one.
Wilson only got more toned down, which is really to the show's detriment. Wilson was the breakout star of the first picture.
The show got momentarily better when Anna Camp returned. Camp needs a show STAT! Is she still on The Mindy Project?
The boys were props and comic-relief, although Adam Devine and Ben Platt were cute/funny to watch when on screen. Devine had a hilarious mid-credits scene that outshone most other scenes of the movie itself.
Flashlight may have been co-written by Sia, but it just did not resonate as much as that annoying Cups.