Pitch Perfect 2 DVD Review

What’s It About? The Barden Bellas are back making music with their mouths in an aca-xplosion of song, dance, and wisecracks.

In the first movie, the Bellas went from being underdogs to the cream of the a capella crop. But how long can they stay at the top? Not very, it turns out as they come a cropper right at start of this movie and have to fight back to prove their aca-credentials.

Verdict: Pitch Perfect 2 very much marches to the same beatbox as the first movie, which was a huge sleeper hit back in 2012.

The sequel sees relationships cemented between Bellas old and new, and adds some aca-dork-able new connections to the mix.

Having worked together before, there’s an easy chemistry between the film’s stars, which is exactly what’s needed to bring their on-screen characters back to life in this musical tale of growing up.

Anna Kendrick’s on fine form as Beca, who’s trying to juggle finding her feet outside college with her a capella duties. Rebel Wilson is once again the joker of the pack, and puts her improv skills to good effect as Fat Amy.

Brittany Snow as Chloe, who’s done everything to stay in the Bellas, Ester Dean as Cynthia Rose and Alexis Knapp as Stacie all put in nice turns, even if their characters don’t get a ton of development in the script.

And as Lily, Hana Mae Lee continues to amuse and disturb in equal measure with her totally off-the-wall and out-of-nowhere statements in the middle of conversations. Plus, Anna Camp gets to put Aubrey’s controlling ways to somewhat different use than when we when we last saw her.

This time round, the boys mainly take a backseat, though Skylar Astin’s Jesse and Adam DeVine’s Bumper both get some aca-action.

The Bellas get a transfusion of new blood thanks to Chrissie Fit who plays Flo, a foreign-exchange student from Central America who punctures many a melodramatic moan from her fellow singers with tales of her own extreme life experiences. And Hailee Steinfeld, who was stunning in True Grit alongside Jeff Bridges, brings a sweetness and innocent enthusiasm to the role of Emily, a first-year student keen to follow in her mother’s footsteps by joining the Bellas.

Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, star of Danish political drama Borgen, and YouTube star Flula Borg are spot-on as leaders of the Bellas’ rivals, Das Sound Machine, a ruthlessly efficient 18-strong German group of tall trash-talkers, who are all slicked-back hair and monochrome military-style leather and fishnet outfits!

Plus there are some fun cameos including Keegan-Michael Key’s scene-stealingly good turn as a top music producer who gets some eminently quotable lines.

Expect lots more totally inappropriate banter between Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins who put their perfect comic timing on display again as they reprise their roles as the riotously non-PC a capella commentators, Gail and John.

Yes, the movie trades in stereotypes, but it feels like it does it with a self-awareness, an ironic eye-roll and a wink to the audience, though occasionally it misses its mark.

By the way, Pitch Perfect 2 also marks Elizabeth Banks’s debut as a feature-film director and she does a good job maintaining a nice pace throughout. As for the music, there’s a shed-load of awesome mash-ups arranged by the movie’s music director Ed Boyer, with songs from pretty much every decade from the 1940s to the 2010s, from hip-hop to electro pop, country to R&B, and even a brand new track.

I’m pretty sure they’re headed for another mega-smash hit with the movie’s soundtrack, which is insanely catchy and full of feel-goodness!

Just like in the first movie, we get another superb riff-off scene as well as an a capella championship that take the Bellas out of their collegiate comfort zone. As for the routines, they’ve certainly got the moves going on again this time! There’s lots of ingeniously designed numbers by choreographer Aakomon Jones including ones that take props and pyrotechnics to the max.

Oh, and do watch the credits as otherwise you’ll miss an aca-treat!

Blu-ray Extras: Commentary with Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks, Producers Paul Brooks & Max Handelman; The World Championships of A Cappella; The Bellas Are Back; Aca-Camp; Snoop is in the House; Gag Reel; An Aca-Love Story: Bumper and Fat Amy; Bonus Song Performed by the Treblemakers; Extended Musical Performances; Das Sound Machine Finale Breakdown; Deleted, Extended and Alternate Scenes; Legacy: Hailee Steinfeld; Line-Aca-Rama; Green Bay Packers Rap; Elizabeth Banks Directorial Debut; Riff-Off; Residual Heat Internship

Final Words: Thanks to its cast, compositions, choreography, and comedy, Pitch Perfect 2 manages to mostly hit the right notes for a satisfyingly fun, if familiar, sequel. Expect feel-good musical entertainment that puts a smile on your face!

Rating: 3.5 / 5      

Pitch Perfect 2 is available on Blu-ray & DVD from 21 September 2015, & on Digital HD from 7 September.