Movie Review! Pitch Perfect 2

As I’ve discussed here before, I grew up doing musical theater, acting, and cheerleading, among other performance based activities. Whenever a film comes along that touches on any of that, I’m usually super psyched to see it. Yes, “Bring It On” is one of my favorite movies – although I don’t care for any of the films that followed. That seems to be the trend. I love the first “Pitch Perfect”. I really connected with the plot and especially Anna Kendrick’s character, Beca. She has the perfect amount of sass and sarcasm, yet shows a lot of heart & dedication to the Barden Bellas, which I identify with in regards to my 10 years of cheerleading experience. I really wanted to love “Pitch Perfect 2”, but unfortunately, I just couldn’t. I’m sure my opinion will not be popular, but please read below for my list of Likes, Dislikes, Final Thoughts, and Rating! Don’t be shy – click the FOLLOW button on the top right of this page to be notified when my next post goes up 🙂

Likes:
– I empathized with Beca’s attitude towards the Bellas. She was appreciative for the experiences they’d had together, but felt it was time for her to move on. She felt torn between dedicating her time to the “last hurrah” and her future. I understand how she felt. During the end of my time cheerleading, I started to feel like the near constant injuries I was sustaining didn’t make sense to tolerate anymore. I knew I wasn’t going to be a cheerleader forever, or even in college, so why permanently injure myself over something that wouldn’t be permanent in my life? It’s hard to come to terms with those emotions, so I applaud PP2 for taking on that storyline.
– The scenes that took place at Beca’s Internship were the funniest parts of the film.

& that’s it. That’s literally it.

Dislikes: There are so many things I disliked about this film. SO MANY.
– The story seemed undeveloped. I loved the first Pitch Perfect because you really got to know all the characters and their quirks. You hardly see Jesse – Beca’s boyfriend. You hardly learn any new information about any of the characters.
– I was disappointed with Flo, who is basically a Guatemalan version of Lilly, a strange, awkward non-white character thrown in to up the count of non-white actors. However, does it really count as being inclusive, broadening your casting, & having a multi-racial cast if all the character does is reinforce negative stereotypes of their race?
– The “love story” between Bumper and Fat Amy. They could have turned that into a substantial storyline about how Fat Amy was afraid to get into a relationship because she didn’t want to lose her independence or because she wasn’t sure where her life was going after college, etc. Nope. They just created a cheesy, dramatic, excuse to throw in another 80’s throwback love song, like they did with “Don’t You Forget About Me”. However, the inclusion of “Don’t You…” was well executed because it made sense with the rest of Beca & Jesse’s story – and yes, it reminded me of “Bring It On” when Torrance includes the songs from Cliff’s Mix Tape into the Toro’s competition routine. You don’t often see “big girls” involved in love stories, so I was (again) disappointed that they chose to make Fat Amy’s love story sloppy and uncomfortable.
– I didn’t appreciate the substantial number of jokes aimed at women.  A few I remember off the top of my head were the classic, “Women belong in the kitchen”, “This is why we shouldn’t send women to college”, “I’ll do whoever it takes”, and one character’s plan to become “A music teacher in a 3rd world country, or an exotic dancer. Whatever pays more!” Really? In a movie marketed towards young woman, the target audience is being subjected to jokes that put us down. I’m so glad I paid money for this! Seriously, if I wanted to subject myself to BS like this I’d just look around the Internet for free.
– The classless jokes didn’t end there. This film covered the gamut of sensitive topics, poking fun at Thailand “Lady Boys” (their words, not mine!) and the Gay/Lesbian community, among others.
– A plot point I didn’t understand (SPOILERS!!!!): The Bellas lost the private Sing-Off because Emily sings an original song & everyone is yelling at her that “Acapella doesn’t do originals, we’re supposed to do covers” etc…but then they (SPOILER!!!!) win Worlds, by singing the same original song…?!? Wha!? There’s no consistency, unless, the story writer was trying to imply that the world of Acapella was old school & the judges appreciated them trying something new…? This could be, but was not explained in the film. I’ve never experienced anything like that. I understand cheerleading is a different beast altogether, but we usually were penalized for doing “new” things, because the judges were typically older people that had been involved in the community for a long time. They didn’t like twerking and Top 40 songs, they preferred “Oldies” and moves that focused on technique. I don’t understand how something that was criticized earlier in the film, helps them win in the end with no explanation. Maybe I missed something…?

Final Thoughts & Rating:
As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’m capable of laughing at plenty of stuff that offends other people, but this film pushed too hard and it didn’t seem genuine or in line with the previous film. I’m fine with films like the Jackass series, you know they’re going to be offensive, you expect it. I did NOT expect this type of material from PP2. It seems like they can’t decide who their audience is. Pitch Perfect 1 was a nice, happy, girl power, family film, but PP2 did a complete 180 and distanced themselves from that. They were trying to be “hard/edgy” & have a Borat like set up where they wanted to offend as many people as humanly possible just to be “funny”. Overall, I thought this film was full of crass jokes that took aim at people who are different for cheap laughs. I loved the first Pitch Perfect because it was inclusive. It was a film about a group that often gets made fun of and their hard work goes unappreciated. A group of misfits that banded together to create a family. PP2 ruined all of that and was just another run of the mill, over the top, teen “comedy”.
My Rating: D

What do you think? Am I being too harsh or taking things too seriously? Did you like Pitch Perfect 2? Hopefully my review gave you some food for thought. I’d love to know what y’all thought of the film and my review! Please shoot me an email, or write me a comment down below! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Movie Review – Delivery Man!

Last night I went to see Vince Vaughn’s new movie “Delivery Man”.

“Stats”: Opened on November 22nd to mostly mixed reviews. Notable cast includes Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, and Cobie Smulders. Here’s the trailer!

Plot: “Delivery Man” centers around a middle aged guy named David who discovers he’s the biological father of 533 children due to a mix up at a fertility clinic he donated sperm to in his 20’s. A group of the kids are suing David, contesting his right to remain anonymous. The film follows him in trying to figure out how to do the right thing for his current growing family and the kids who want to know their father. Along the way his journey is highlighted by picking out select profiles and meeting those kids and helping them in some way, while trying to remain anonymous. I think the trailer does a really good job of revealing the key plot points, while not giving too much away, so I won’t say too much more.

Thoughts: I thought this movie was a standard “drama-dy” (Drama/Comedy), but it was definitely NOT your typical Vince Vaughn movie…not necessarily a bad thing. “Delivery Man” had a good mix of sweet, funny moments, mixed in with some darker plot points.

Cons: This isn’t necessarily a con, but was something I found a little off. The “name brand” actors in this movie all played against type. I understand that’s not a horrible thing, but it was just so strange to see Chris Pratt, who I recognize from “The O.C”, playing a lawyer and father. Cobie Smulders, who normally plays Robin from “How I Met Your Mother”, was Vince Vaughn’s very serious/angry girlfriend with no sense of humor.

Pros: The highlights of the movie were definitely the stories when David interacted with his kids. I feel like the actors that played the kids in these “special” stories are on their way to big things, especially Dave Patten, Adam Chanler-Berat, and Jack Reynor.
Dave Patten plays Adam, one of David’s kids who is pretty much the ring leader of the lawsuit to find out his identity. He plays a musician in the film and in real life is a talented singer-songwriter-musician who plays multiple instruments. He’s also a published author. His novel “Run of the Mill” is definitely on my book list! Also I swear I recognize him from something non-media related but I can’t put my finger on what it is.
Adam Chanler-Berat plays Viggo, one of the kids involved in the lawsuit who figures out that David is actually his father. He uses this information to his advantage to kind of blackmail David into spending some one on one time with him. Chanler-Berat is notable to me because he’s also well known for playing Henry in the stage show “Next to Normal” and Boy/Peter in “Peter and the Starcatcher”. “Next to Normal” also features two other actors I’m extremely impressed with, Aaron Tevit, probably most well known for being in last year’s film “Les Mis” & Skylar Astin, from “Pitch Perfect.” I just saw “Peter and the Starcatcher” in S.F (review coming soon!) and it was awesome – so I’m automatically enthralled with anyone who’s been involved in the show.
Jack Reynor plays Josh, one of the first of David’s kids that he helps. I think he gave a really honest performance…and he looks like Jesse Spencer (Dr. Chase from House). Reynor can be seen soon in the next Transformer’s movie, a series I generally enjoy, so I thought that was pretty cool too.

I’ve rambled enough…would I recommend this movie? Sure, I guess. I’m mostly enthusiastic about it for the performances from Vaughn and the above mentioned actors. The plot was iffy for me because it was all these kids complaining about how they didn’t know their dad so they don’t know who they are and they feel a part of them is missing. I was raised by a single mom, I don’t know my dad, and I don’t feel that way, so it was hard for me to connect with that part of the plot. Overall I’d give this film a B rating. Give it a go if you’re interested in seeing some new talent and a different side of Vince Vaughn. 

If you’ve seen the film, what did you think? Are you interested in seeing it? Let me know!