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PITCH PERFECT 2

SYNOPSIS: The Barden Bellas, the collegiate a cappella group enters an international competition that no American team has ever won.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's the offbeat nature of the characters and their approach to the a cappella music they sing that gives this upbeat sequel edge. In musical terms, you might say it feels syncopated. Directing her first full-length feature, Elizabeth Banks, who also appears (alongside John Michael Higgins) as one of the jaded collegiate commentators, has created a spirited film that feels fresh, using humour and music to distinctly coat the narrative.

Screenwriter Kay Cannon sets the tone in the opening routine, in which Rebel Wilson's Fat Amy has a wardrobe malfunction on stage while dangling upside down. This unlikely set up forms the premise that sees the all-girl singing group suspended from competing - unless, under their own steam, they win the world a capella championships in Copenhagen.

Highlights include the scenes in which the rivalry between the Barden Bellas and German reigning champions Das Sound Machine comes to a head; exciting choreographed numbers and hilarious confrontations between stunning lead singer Birgitte Hjort S¿rensen and the dimunitive Anna Kendrick follow. The sequence at the private party sing-off is fun and musically clever; this is a capella like you've never seen it before. The rhythm at times sounds like a hissing cat. Then there's the outdoor retreat where the girls find their harmony amid humorous mishaps. The fat jokes wear thin and the romance between Fat Amy and Adam DeVine is pretty silly but the cast is so appealing that everything falls into place.

At the centre of the action and forming the solid base on which everything else connects is the compelling group of characters. There's Kendrick as Beca, who spearheads a side plot in which she pursues her aspirations to become a music producer; Brittany Snow as the switched on Chloe, Hana Mae Lee as whisper quiet Lill who does fish-mouth impressions and Alexis Knapp as Stacy, who will do anything (or anyone) as required. One of the film's main plot strands involves Hailee Steinfeld as Emily, the group's latest addition, who writes her own music. Steinfeld is terrific and has great screen presence. All the plot points are stepping stones for the climactic finish in Copenhagen, when everything comes together with dynamic harmonies and funky rhythms..Funny, unexpected and entertaining, the film is a real feel-good package.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

PITCH PERFECT 2 (M)
(US, 2015)

CAST: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Katey Sagal

PRODUCER: Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks, Max Handelman, Jason Moore

DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Banks

SCRIPT: Kay Cannon

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jim Denault

EDITOR: Craig Alpert

MUSIC: Mark Mothersbaugh

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tony Corbett

RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 7, 2015







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