Pitch Perfect 2
The sequel to "Pitch Perfect," 2012's madcap hit about the madness of a cappella groups has arrived, starring all the favorites as well as delivering some genuine if predictable laughs.
Once more, the gang is in trouble when Patricia, nicknamed Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), upsets President Obama by falling while suspended on stage.
She unwittingly exposed her genitalia. Thus the famous university team the Barden Bellas is in jeopardy of being stripped of their title achieved in the first film, and must sing to regain recognition.
Most of the jokes are sound and sight gags having to do with singing and artists in vogue, from Beyonce to Miley Cyrus.
To start, the Bond Villains of the film are a group called Das Sound Machine, a kind of hybrid between Depeche Mode and Disney. The Machine's front men, Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) and Pieter (Flula Borg) are silly cartoons that aren't going to win any favors with Angela Merkel, but their repartee with Beca (Anna Kendrick) who can't help commenting on Kommissar's power and beauty, is very funny. Kendrick's best line: "Your sweat smells like cinnamon!"
Snoop Dogg appears in a bit involving a serious Christmas album that shows the rapper making fun of himself.
In probably the weirdest (or most mundane) cameo, The Green Bay Packers present themselves as rap contestants.
The comedian Keegan-Michael Key from MADtv and Comedy Central entertains as a very obnoxious music producer, almost reprising his role as Coach Hines from MAD.
If the to and fro is silly and ephemeral, and much of it is, the honesty of the characters holds it all together and each role shows heart.
David Cross steals the show as a pedantic MC, gnome-like and gruff in a sorcerer's robe. He presents an eerie version of Rex Reed as if created by director Ed Wood.
The musical numbers are energetic and full of charge even though the singing tongue is planted firmly in cheek.
The "Pitch Perfect" films can be seen as Tv's "Glee" mixed with something of "The Three Stooges" or "Little Rascals". There is even a character who can belt out a song, but can only manage a whisper in public.
What you see is what you get: a group of quirky young ladies doing silly things in regard to pop culture and thankfully making your hands clap in the midst of it all.
This time out, director Elizabeth Banks (who plays Gail, the commentator) keeps the comic momentum going and doesn't overburden the narrative with heroic messages, which is all to the good.
Write Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org