Is Pitch Perfect 2 Dateworthy?

Is Pitch Perfect 2 Dateworthy?

When’s the last time you thoroughly enjoyed a movie from beginning to end, that put a big grin on your face from start to finish, and made you feel like you could get up and dance, and belt out songs with the best of the actors on screen? Improbable as it sounds, “Pitch Perfect 2” is exactly that kind of movie – and as over-the-top entertaining as a movie can get.

So I’ll cut to the chase. Yes, this movie is dateworthy. Great clean fun from start to finish with just enough edge to not make you feel like you’re watching a kiddie movie, “Pitch Perfect 2” is the most fun I’ve had in a movie theater in a long time.

Now before anyone accuses me of being a shill for the movie, or the kind of critic that says outrageously happy things about crappy movies in order to get their names and review quotes in newspaper and TV ads, let me make it clear that until Tuesday, I had never seen even the first “Pitch” movie. That 2012 film, featuring no big-name actors, nonetheless managed to win audiences over worldwide with its ridiculously spirited depiction of the world of college a cappella singing competitions.

Pitch Perfect 2

That’s admittedly a strange thing for a movie to focus on, but the movie – starring Anna Kendrick as a shy freshman at the fictional Barden College who finds popularity and empowerment when she joins an all-girl singing team called the Barden Bellas and leads them to win the national championship – was a refreshing antidote to the sex-drenched messages that are targeted at modern society, and especially teens, on a constant basis.

That’s especially true coming from female pop singers like Beyonce who make it seem like even at the top of their game, it’s necessary to roll around on stage floors and video sets wearing next to nothing in order to get attention, rather than relying on actual singing talent or songwriting chops to succeed. One big reason the first “Pitch” was a hit was the fact that it almost seemed like the perfect pushback against the insidious messages spewed forth by the music industry.

It didn’t have a complex story to tell, just an infectious spirit of joy and explosive musical talent that made it a worthy successor to the Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland, “Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” musicals of the 1930s and 1940s. After conquering the box office and the pop charts with the soundtrack, “Pitch Perfect 2” opens Friday in an attempt to build on the success of the first one.

The Bella’s are back, and this time they’re reaping the rewards of their championship by giving a command performance at Lincoln Center to a packed audience of dignitaries including the President and Michelle Obama (seen in hilariously obvious stock footage). But when Bella member Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) rips her pants widely and reveals – offscreen and implied – that she’s not wearing any underwear while spinning on a swing high above the stage, the Bellas are disgraced and stripped of their right to defend their American championship and the right to recruit new members.

But soon they find a loophole to get their honor back, by taking on a German championship team called Das Music Machine at the world a cappella championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. The road to that showdown, filled with musical numbers, funny montages and a non-stop sense of fun, is a silly ride to take, but one that’s seemingly impossible not to enjoy.

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The filmmakers behind “Pitch Perfect 2” deserve some real credit and praise for showing young women who (aside from the off-screen disaster with Fat Amy that opens the film) are creative, ambitious, smart, team workers and essentially sisters working together for positive goals. Aside from using the “B” word a couple times regarding the German team, there is almost no foul language, as well as no violence, no onscreen sex and no onscreen nudity.

In fact, this is a rare Hollywood movie focused upon young attractive women who are either in relationships or heavily pursued for dates, yet who do not engage in premarital sex or even imply it onscreen. The first “Pitch” has a few more sexual references than this one, which means that Banks and her team actually cleaned up the script compared to the first movie.

The plus-size performer who proudly calls herself Fat Amy does have an implied casual sex relationship with a guy from another a cappella team, which is alluded to with winks and moments where they sneak off. But surprisingly even here, the man in the pair (hot rising comedian Adam Devine, as Bumper) wants to make it a fully-rounded love relationship that can have permanence. While he is shot down by Fat Amy at first, she changes her mind later and embraces true love in a devastatingly funny sequence set to a classic 1980s love song.

The Bellas, from Kendrick and Wilson on down, are a wonder to behold, and actress Elizabeth Banks – who plays a hilariously shameless TV analyst of the competition – does a startlingly good job in her directing debut. This movie moves like a freight train from start to finish, slick and powerful and sure of its path.

Trust me, guys, you’ll be surprised that you loved it – but you will.

I didn’t have much hope for a movie with as generic a title as “Pitch Perfect 2,” since it sounded at best like an assembly-line, soulless creation. Thankfully, it’s instead an example of what can happen when Hollywood professionalism delivers a film that’s astounding fun.