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Movie Review: “Pitch Perfect 2” is an Aca-Awesome Sequel


The Barden Bellas are back and ready to pitch-slap the world’s best a cappella groups!

It’s been three years since we last saw our Bella’s beat out the exuberant Treblemakers for the national title. Since then, they have gone on to be reigning champs. But just before this all female singing group could finish out their college careers with 4 straight national wins, an unfortunate mishap occurs during a live broadcast performance at the White House. This results in the Bellas being banned from competing in the United States. Their one shot at redemption and reinstatement is to win the international competition, in which no American group has ever won. To make matters worse the undefeated champs from Germany, Das Sound Machine, are incredible!

Anna Kendrick returns as Beca, the aspiring music producer, who is now focused more on life after college and is secretly interning at a record label.  Brittany Snow also returns as Chloe, who purposely is failing college every year so that she may remain a Bella. And we are introduced to a new freshman, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), who desperately wants to become a Barden Bella.

For the most part, Pitch Perfect 2 hits all the right notes. For starters, the film skips straight to the girl’s senior year in college and avoids dragged out year by year sequels. Also, Beca and Jesse (Skylar Astin) are still together and going strong. Nice to see they didn’t have a dramatic break up that would lead to an inevitable reunion. Only problem here is we don’t get nearly enough time with the lovable Skylar Astin. I would have much rather watched more of Jesse’s plan for life after college versus any time spent with newcomer, Emily. I can’t quite put my finger on why Steinfield never clicked with me. Other than her character writing the touching, original song “Flashlight,” Emily is just wasted time that could be spent on the growth of an already beloved character.

Speaking of beloved characters, Bumper (Adam DeVine) and Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) are still keeping their love affair under-wraps. It’s a hilarious and unique pairing that audiences will surely enjoy.

Pitch Perfect 2 is definitely flashier than the first film, yet it is also less charming. Under the direction of Elizabeth Banks, the movie focuses on a sort of girl power theme. That isn’t a bad thing, but it would have been nice to maybe see a collaboration between the Treblemakers and Barden Bellas. It’s a performance I still hope to see one day.

Overall I praise the film for its effort in an original sequel.  Instead of recycling story-lines, they allow their characters to develop through new experiences while also highlighting how bittersweet it can be to move on after college.

There is no doubt that fans of the first film will be satisfied with Pitch Perfect 2.  The movie is an extremely fun, comedy packed with awe-inspiring musical numbers to which you can’t help but sing-along.

Rating: 4/5

Pitch Perfect 2 opens in theaters May 15.

“Pitch Perfect 2” Official Trailer HD

Musical Review: “Mamma Mia!” will have you Rocking Out like a Dancing Queen

Mamma Mia makes it almost impossible for you not to jump out of your chair and dance along to the music!

The first time I saw this musical was in theaters with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried as the leading ladies.  I remember how much fun I had while watching that film.  The music, the color, the dancing, it was a blast!  But, that was before I got to experience the live Broadway musical performance in which I was truly able to feel the energy and joy of this story by such a talented cast.

For those who don’t know the story or haven’t seen popular film, let me sum it up.  Three months before Sophie’s (Chelsea Williams) wedding day she decides to send out a letter to three men, one of whom could possibly be her father, in hopes that she will have her dad walk her down the aisle.  Surprisingly enough, all three men agree to come only because they believe Donna (Rebecca Mason-Wygall), Sophie’s mother, sent the invites.  The day before her wedding the three men arrive and they reluctantly agree to not tell Donna what Sophie did and just act like they are in town coincidently.  When Donna finally runs into her past lovers, old feelings return and a possible relationship is rekindled.  As Sophie struggles to figure out which man is her father, she begins to discover a realization in herself.

Talk about a vibrant cast, from the leads to the chorus, everyone involved gave their all while on that stage.  Once you hear t the soft, angelic, voice of Chelsea Williams in the opening number, goose bumps will appear and eyes will be glued to that riveting star.  That is until you meet Rebecca Mason-Wygall.  Her sultry voice will awe you in the hypnotic “Money, Money, Money” number.  The two women make for a fantastic mother/daughter pairing.

Even though these ladies lead the show, each cast member managed to have plenty of “star” moments.  Each of the three men had no problem making a fool of himself for this ridiculously entertaining story.  Mark A. Harmon, who plays Harry Bright, lets loose as the “head banging” British gentleman.  Michael Colavolpe gives a raunchy comedic performance as Bill Austin.  And with a voice that demands to be heard, Jeff Drushal solidifies the fact that Pierce Brosnan should probably leave the singing to the pros.  Expect plenty of laughs anytime Gabrielle Mirabella and Carly Sakolove make an appearance.  The two play Tanya and Rosie, Donna’s long time best friends.  They are immature, outlandish and downright hilarious!  And boys, Tanya’s got a pair of legs that goes on for days.

After an already exciting start, Act II comes back with a bang.  The entire musical flies by, but if you’re sad to watch it end (like me), don’t fret; you will be treated with THREE encore performances.  And this time, everyone is already standing from the deserved ovations, so you can feel free to foolishly dance (like me).

Mamma Mia is running at the Dallas Music Hall at Fair Park through Sunday, June 15.

Rating: 4.5/5

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com