Being a toneless wonder has never stung more than after seeing Pitch Perfect 2. How I wish I could hit a five-octave squee of delight for its a cappella musical numbers, elaborately choreographed sing-offs, and girl-bonding montages.
A too-short list of this film's many aca-awesome qualities:
• Anna Kendrick, reprising her role as wannabe music producer Beca, is struggling to find her footing in an internship at a music studio. Anna Kendrick smells of chocolate-chip cookies and lemon verbena. The. Best. Living. Creature. Ever. (Except. For. Cats.)
• Surprising cameos: Reggie Watts! John Hodgman! The harmonizing Green Bay Packers! The president and first lady! Rebel Wilson's vagina! A real-life woman-directed movie!
• Director (and star) Elizabeth Banks brings sincere camaraderie to the all-female a cappella troupe's dynamics. Pitch Perfect's mean girl power plays are jettisoned in favor of an appealing faux sorority of women you actually want to hang out with—mostly because they throw a great dance party and crop dust one another.
• It's bigger and glitzier than the original. There's more money floating around this thing from product placements to the aforementioned guest stars, but because it realizes how silly, goofy, and full of slapstick it is, it works. Like the 2012 original, Pitch Perfect 2's still got a likeable heart, even with all its slick production.
• I did mention the singing and dancing numbers, right? During the advanced screening, the theater was packed with teens and a cappella groups. They were INTO it, and it was infectious, especially during the performance of Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)."
The only thing to pitch about (eh?) is the film's archetypes are pretty broad. But, really, it kinda feels like an overall win to watch a mainstream comedy that's peopled with diverse, gay, and overweight characters, all the more so when their warbling talents shine. While not exactly perfect, this warm-hearted sequel is charming as hell.